The diversity of South African Chenin Blanc was a colourful affair at this month’s Which Wine tasting, with purity of fruit and smart winemaking as the golden thread. Here are some of the key take home messages from the judges.
HIGGO JACOBS, CHAIRMAN OF WHICH WINE
This wine category needs a judge to be awake; the variety of styles and differentiation thereof was amazing. The winemaking techniques employed in some of the wines is clearly to show the different facets of Chenin Blanc. This is exciting for South Africa, especially since the export market is warming up to the cultivar. Judicious use of oak, winemakers are really getting the balance.
ADAM MASON, MULDERBOSCH WINEMAKER
There is a thread, but it is not straightforward. The winemaker’s individuality becomes the defining point. One of these is acid adjustments, which if done without careful consideration can change the backbone of the wine completely. The romantic and untamed side of the grape was very prevalent, with great creaminess and fruit expression, striking balance of acidity and good use of oak.
JACQUES DE KLERK, VITICULTURE AND WINEMAKING MANAGER, THE WINERY OF GOODHOPE
Let the fruit speak – honestly made wines, full and broad, without exaggeration. Some of the wines sent a “trying too hard” message giving the less worked wines a better foot to stand on. The wines also presented an unconventional freshness. Stylishly handled oak, with some of the wines missing the mark by a hair.
List of wines
- The Fledge & Co HoekSteen
- Sumsaré Chenin Blanc 2012
- Remhoogte Honeybunch Chenin Blanc 2013
- Adoro Naudé Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2013
- Mullineux Skin Contact Chenin Blanc 2013
- Diemersfontein Carpe Diem Chenin Blanc 2011
- Barton Vineyards Chenin Blanc 2014
- Delaire Graff Swartland Reserve Chenin Blanc 2014
- Sterhuis Chenin Blanc 2014
For ratings, tasting notes and more information on the wines tasted for the March Which Wine edition, please click here.