Young Gunners Stephanie Wiid and Etienne Terblanche burst onto the winemaking scene with Thistle & Weed in 2015 and received a Platter’s 5-star award for their maiden-release Duwweltjie Chenin Blanc. Their subsequent vintages continued to receive high praise, with each small batch usually selling out before their next high score was dropped. They have just released a limited trio of excellent Chenins.
Having consulted with Alheit Vineyards, Sijnn and Damascene to name a few, Etienne is one of the most respected young viticulturists in SA. Is it because of this dedication to vineyard selection that we see such wonderful, transparent expressions of Chenin Blanc being crafted by the talented Stephanie; ex-Fairview. She is now solely committed to making the Thistle & Weed wines – and it shows. Their latest Chenins are exquisite expressions of three very distinct regions.
The 2020 Duwweltjie, from a heritage block in Paarl planted in 1961, has developed a strong following and is a touch more sophisticated in this new vintage. Multiple pickings have created a layered feel to the wine. It has a creamy texture, cut nicely with a fresh, clean acidity and has a more-ish, lingering stone-fruit weight to its dry finish.
The 2020 Brandnetel, from a high-altitude site in Stellenbosch, has intriguing notes of tart pineapple and green mango. The pointed acidity complements a flavour-packed mid-palate, supported by a linear and mineral core. With its focused precision, it is my favourite of the three.
To complete the trio, we have the exciting, new 2020 Springdoring from an old vineyard on the southern side of the Paardeberg. This is quintessential old-vine Swartland Chenin – perfumed, with poised fruit purity, leading on to a textured, long and savoury finish. Like all three, there’s a refreshing salinity to it.
Thistle & Weed, Duwweltjie Chenin Blanc 2020
Notes of apricot, citrus peel and the signature dried pineapple on the nose. The palate is light but densely layered with a generously creamy texture hung on a pithy skeleton. – Thistle & Weed
Notes on the 2019 vintage: Amazing purity & focus on 2019. From 60 year old Paarl chenin, showing great depth, length & complexity, yet retaining elegance & poise. Bunch pressed, French barrel fermented (225, 300 & 500L), 10 months on lees. An icon in the making. – Platter’s Guide, 5* (96/100)
Thistle & Weed, Brandnetel Chenin Blanc 2020
White peach, green pineapple and bloedlemoen on the nose. The palate is rich and more-ish, gentle oaking provides the stage for an intense citrus finish with a refreshing acidity. Perfect for aging or drinking now. – Thistle & Weed
Notes on the 2019 vintage: Why make one very smart Chenin Blanc when you can make two? Worth tasting alongside Duwweltjie from the same team, this is even tighter, tauter and more mineral, with mouthwatering acidity, fennel and thatch aromas, subtle old wood and delicious line and length. Lingers for more than a minute on the palate. Drink 2021-27. – Tim Atkin MW, SA Special Report 2020, 95/100
Thistle & Weed, Springdoring Chenin Blanc 2020
Notes of grapefruit and trademark Swartland thatch. Edgy aromatics, limes and more citrus on the pristine palate leaving a crystalline mineral finish with plenty nervous tension. – Thistle & Weed