International media are abuzz with the recent success of SA Chenin Blanc. When old vines find their way into the right hands, utter magic can be achieved. We feel it’s…

International media are abuzz with the recent success of SA Chenin Blanc. When old vines find their way into the right hands, utter magic can be achieved. We feel it’s the only category in which South Africa can lead the wine world.

‘Chenin is for sure the king of whites and its versatility never seems to fail to amaze us as it produces glorious wines on the 45 degree parallel North in France and glorious wines in the Cape on the 33 degree parallel South in South Africa. It is the true chameleon of white grapes and deserves the respect of the world. Unfortunately unlike some of the obvious monolithic varietals, you do need a brain to drink Chenin!’ Neal Martin of the Wine Advocate

‘It’s a rare beauty, with stunning complexity, but it still manages to inspire juicy, citrusy glugging. I awarded this epic white a score which transcends what I previously thought were dry Chenin Blanc’s limits!’ says Matthew Jukes on the Beaumont Hope Marguerite 2012, one of South Africa’s best wines, which translates into a mere £10 per bottle. Sarah Ahmed, Jancis Robinson, Tim Atkin and others have voiced similar praise on SA Chenin.

We have selected our top Chenins at each price level; wines that frankly offer stupendous value. The groundbreaking new Luddite shows immense power in a lean shell and we feel it’s a future legend. Remhoogte’s Honeybunch 2012 is their finest vintage yet, showing brilliant depth and pure class of old-vine Chenin. Every time I drink a bottle of Tobias I feel it should be double the price! And the 2013 Mullineux Kloof Street is also their best yet, in an uncomplicated but elegant and pure Chenin style. Why not take a mixed pack?

Finally, we have just landed a range of sensational Vouvrays from Vincent Carême‘Their entire range is a Chenin lover’s delight,’ says Jancis Robinson‘One of Five Loire Super-Stars,’ enthuses Chris Cissack, the Wine Doctor. You may bump into Vincent and his amazing Vouvrays at next month’s Swartland Revolution. Dscover all the Carêmes, including his delicious Ancestrale and Moelleux…

To order, please email info@winecellar.co.za. You can also call us 021 448 4105. View a list of all our Chenins on www.winecellar.co.za and see here for delivery charges.

Fancy winning R1,000 to spend at Wine Cellar? Visit our Facebook page and enter our #CheninLovin photo contest.

Tasting notes by Pia Harris

Luddite Chenin 2012
The grapes were sourced from a derelict old vineyard in the Bot River Valley. The vines are between 40 and 60 years old. It underwent natural fermentation and a further 12 months maturation in small oak barrels, this wine is unlike any local Chenin I have tasted. Incredibly flinty on the nose with limey-citrus nuances. Minerally textured and full on the palate spliced with energising acidity. Feminine, delicate and understated, this wine promises to age elegantly.

Vincent Carême Vouvray Sec 2012
The epitome of dry Vouvray with beautiful apple and pear fruits and a floral lift. It’s fresh and youthful, attractively fleshy with a lightly effusive mineral character. The definition feels rather soft, but there is good substance and a full mineral finish. It will open up over the next three to five years.

Beaumont Hope Marguerite 2012
Produced from 35-year-old vines, this shows opulent white blossoms, peaches and honey on the nose. Beguiling undertones of nutmeg, cinnamon and baked apple pie follow through on the palate. There is a creamy fullness and bitter almond twists that build up to a richly textured finish. The 15% new oak is well-integrated and enhances Chenin’s best attributes.

Remhoogte Honeybunch Chenin Reserve 2012
Twenty-eight-year-old Chenin vines from the estate, the grapes are crushed and undergo 12 hours of maceration on the skin before pressing and fermentation. The 2012 vintage brings fragrant blossoms, honeysuckle and delicate fynbos appeal. Elegant and perfumed with the comforting familiarity of honeyed rooibos tea and a rounded palate – a result of the natural fermentation and ageing in small French oak barrels. Aptly named, this wine is delicious, exotic, vibrant and dynamic, bringing exciting new flavours with every sip. Something to savour, it will age enchantingly.

Tobias Steen 2012
Produced from 35-year-old Swartland Chenin which Bryan MacRobert barrel ferments in old French oak and ages on the lees for 12 months. A brilliant pale lemon colour, displaying subdued notes of green melon, white peaches and pear rounded by a hint of creaminess. The roundness on the palate is balanced by refreshing acidity. Chalky in texture, complex, yet somewhat restrained. Definitely let this beauty age a while before drinking.

Mullineux Family Kloof Street Chenin Blanc 2013
The Mullineuxs just keep getting it right; their Kloof Street Chenin is only getting better and better every year. The 2013 fronts subtle Granny Smith apples and luscious pear fruit on the nose. Entering on the palate with zesty acidity, fresh limes and peach flavours supported by pithy texture and weight. A total bargain at the price!

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