Chenin Blanc is unusually versatile, allowing for wines across a very broad stylistic spectrum as well as at good quality across all price points. This versatility, however, has proven to be something of a double-edged sword – the very lack of stylistic consistency serving to make wines from the variety difficult to understand for the consumer.
A clever move then on the part of producer body the Chenin Blanc Association to market wines according to season, the first initiative in this regard being the “Winter Showcase” held yesterday at Delaire Graff Estate in Stellenbosch. On display were 25 wines selected by the association as being appropriate for drinking in the colder months not so far off. Included were a selection of “library wines” (2008 and older) to demonstrate the age-worthiness of the variety.
Stand-out wine of the day was Villiera Traditional Barrel Fermented 2010, which I thought was really sophisticated and also great value at R90 a bottle. Scores and brief tasting notes for the top performing wines below:
Cederberg Five Generations 2008
White fruit on the nose and palate. Clean and pure with a great line of acidity. Still remarkably primary, a wine of true elegance. Long, pithy finish.
The FMC (Forrester Meinert Chenin) 2010
Shy nose. Great fruit concentration while fresh acidity lends balance. Layers of flavour: citrus, peach, spice. A wine of great intricacy. Will reward time in bottle.
Villiera Traditional Barrel Fermented 2010
Both reductive (burnt matchstick) and oxidative notes on the nose. Good fruit definition and lemon-like acidity. Oak very well integrated. Medium bodied but intensely flavoured: peach, green melon, honey and an attractive leesy character. Complex and long.
Beaumont Hope Marguerite 2006
Mullineux Family Straw Wine 2010
Perdeberg Rex Equus 2008
StellenRust “45” Barrel Fermented 2009
De Trafford Chenin Blanc Four V (2008 – 2011)
Kanu KCB 2008
Raats Family 2009
Bellingham The Bernhard Series Old Vine 2010
Klein Zalze Vineyard Selection Barrel Fermented 2009
Mulderbosch Steen op Hout 2008
Oldenburg Vineyards 2011
Rijks Reserve 2008
Simonsig Chenin Avec Chêne 2010
Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2010
Land of Hope Reserve 2010
Bosman Optenhorst 2009
Kanu Kia-Ora 2008
Rudera Robusto 2009
Villiera Inspiration 2010
Wildekrans Osiris 2010
Slanghoek NLH 2007