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Now that wine sales have reopened best to make sure you have a few bottles of Chenin Blanc in stock as we celebrate this stellar varietal on 20 June.
A little-known fact is that Chenin Blanc happens to be one of the oldest wine grapes in South Africa, with the first plantings done by the early settlers. Another interesting fact is that it is also most widely used as one of the ingredients in other wine-based products. These include world-champion brandy, Champagne-style MCC, straw wine as well as maturable whites. However, this lesser known variety is also at the cutting edge of the industry, often the focus of study and innovation as well as increasingly at the top end of winery investments.
Although the Franschhoek Wine Valley is most widely known for producing superb MCC’s it is also home to many world-class Chenin Blancs.
One of these is the Cape of Good Hope Van Lill & Visser Chenin Blanc, which finds pride of place within the Anthonij Rupert Wyne portfolio. The Cape of Good Hope range forms part of South Africa’s Old Vines Initiative, which celebrates South Africa’s 350-year-old vinous heritage.
Made from 100% Chenin Blanc grapes, the Van Lill & Visser displays aromas of oatmeal, macadamia nuts and creamy stone fruit on the nose. The palate echoes those flavours with its richness and breadth. Peach pip, nectarine and stone fruit are fresh and lively while the oak supports it in a well-defined cradle. The oatmeal and nutty flavours are apparent but not overwhelming. The wine is powerful yet refined and structured.
Slightly further down the valley is where you’ll find Wildeberg Wines, which is home to their handpicked and naturally fermented Terroirs Chenin Blanc. Made from 100% bush vine Chenin Blanc grapes, sourced from vineyards ranging in age from 40 to 42 years old and grown on Table Mountain granite.
When visiting Franschhoek a stopover at Rickety Bridge Winery is without a doubt a highlight as is their popular Chenin Blanc. Also made from 100% Chenin Blanc grapes this award-winning wine boasts inviting aromas of pineapple, stone fruit and lime blossom with underlying floral notes. A full, rich palate of citrus and spice leads into a long fresh honeyed finish.
The multi-layered Old Road Wine Co. Stonetrail is brimming with gooseberry, white pear and quince aromas followed by an earthy minerality and prominent acidity. The vineyard that supplies the grapes for this wine is 36 years old, unirrigated, and at an altitude of 380 m above sea level. The vineyard started as a trellised vineyard, but over the years it became an improvised bushvine.
The Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc Wine of Origin: Cape Town 2018 has recently been voted Top Ten in the WineMag Prescient Chenin Blanc Report 2020. Grapes from the 1983 Old Vine are spontaneously fermented and matured in a combination of barrel and Foudre resulting in a rich palate displaying plenty of depth and power.
These are a mere handful of the Chenin Blanc producers in and around the Franschhoek Wine Valley, as most (if not all) of our Vignerons have a Chenin (or two) in their ranges.
Visit our website, www.franschhoek.org.za for more details on our wine farms and don’t forget to join us in celebrating this varietal on the 20th.