Exotic, fruit-forward and explosive, these are some of the descriptors that immediately jump to mind when tasting the 2019 maiden release of the Bowwood Chenin Blanc for the first time. Sourced from a single vineyard in the Paardeberg, home to some of the finest Swartland Chenin Blancs, the Bowwood Chenin offers a completely different perspective. The grapes are grown in the highest and coolest vineyard on Vondeling’s property. The concentrated fruit makes for an unashamedly opulent Chenin Blanc. There is loads of sunny stone fruit and perfume, but with a fresh backbone which forms the perfect foil to the rich, more sweet-fruited palate.
This is a unique and complex wine and ideal for those wine drinkers who like a bit of flesh on their wine. Raised in 300 and 400-litre French oak and the attractive, new oak spice is part of its charm and will enthral many.
Not to be outdone, is the full-bodied and smooth 2017 Bowwood Pinotage, which offers a similarly rich and deep-fruited palate. Also from a single vineyard with small, concentrated berries, it is packed with flavour. It exhibits vibrant American oak aromatics of coconut, vanilla and baking spices which are well balanced by ripe, dark berry, black cherry and plum fruit. The focus on American oak is deliberate and works very well and, like the Chenin above, offers something different and luxurious.
Bowwood, Chenin Blanc 2019
Spontaneously fermented and matured for some 11 months in barrel, 40% new, the nose shows yellow peach, honeysuckle and hay while the palate is particularly dense and full (alcohol is 13.8%) but equally very much in focus, the finish possessing a tonic-water sort of bitterness which suits it well. – Christian Eedes, 93/100
From highest, steepest vineyard on farm. Golden glint eye-catching on 2019; aromatically ripe, intense but still underplayed; palate stately & viscous with twist of chenin freshening bite in finish. Begs for time. Natural ferment, oak 60% new, 11 months. – Platter’s Guide, 92/100
Bowwood, Pinotage 2017
Powerful yet refined 2017 from single block. Plenty fruit richness yet to emerge from still-evident sweet oak (American 75%, 40% new); not overly heavy thanks to well-proportioned structure, lively tannins ensuring benefits of long life. – Platter’s Guide, 92/100