Libiamo Amphora Chenin Blanc 2017 Gisborne, New Zealand

This is quite special. It’s an amphora-fermented Chenin Blanc with a dash of Marsanne, that’s on its skins for 222 days, and then pressed and bottled unfiltered with minimal SO2 added. It’s made by Millton in Gisborne, the biodynamic pioneers of New Zealand. This is the third bottle of this wine I’ve drunk, so it’s […]

Cape Wine (5) more highlights, including Craven, Alheit, Savage, Testalonga, JH Meyer

Some more stunners from Cape Wine.

Craven The Firs Vineyard Syrah 2017 Devon Valley, South Africa
12.5% alcohol. From a heavy clay outcrop: the clay gives some black fruit bass end even at low potential alcohol. Peppery and supple with black cherry and black pepper on the nose. Nice purity and elegance with amazing texture, purity and […]

Cape Wine (1) Some stunning old vine South African whites

Cape Wine began for many of us with a tasting of wines from the Old Vines Project. These wines were all made from vineyards aged 35 or over. It’s worth reading more about this interesting project, but for now my focus is on some of the excellent wines I tried. Here are my notes on […]

Impressive new releases from Franco Lourens, a new South African star

Chris Alheit and Franco Lourens

Franco Lourens is assistant winemaker with Chris Alheit, and also makes his own wines in the Alheit cellar in Hemel-en-Aarde. I tasted through the latest releases of the Lourens Family Wines and was really impressed, especially by the two new Chenin Blancs. These are pretty serious.

 

Lourens Family Wines Lindi Carien […]

Vincent Carême Vouvray Sec 2015

I visited Vincent Carême a year ago, and loved his wines, as well as Vouvray, which makes some of the most compelling Chenin Blancs you could hope for (as well as some bad ones, alas). This is the sort of wine I like: it’s not easy, but instead it is multifaceted, taking its time to […]

Winemaking at Gabrielskloof: pressing Chenin Blanc and sorting Pinot Noir

My first day in the cellar at Gabrielskloof was a busy one. This cellar is shared by Peter-Allan Finlayson (who makes Crystallum wines, and also Gabrielskloof, his wife Nicolene’s family winery), John Seccombe (Thorne and Daughters), and Marelise Niemann (Momento), and this means there’s plenty going on.

The day started with some pressing of Chenin Blanc. […]

Off to South Africa, drinking a Chenin in the lounge

I’m in the BA lounge, on the way to South Africa. Tried through the wines, and this was the pick of a rather underwhelming bunch. I’m quite tired: I’ve only just got back from New Zealand, and I’ve had a busy few days in London. I shall definitely sleep on the plane.

Oldenburg Chenin Blanc 2016 […]

Sebastien Brunet Les Pentes de la Folie Vouvray

Another find at Scotch wine bar in Blenheim. So much Vouvray is disappointing, but this domaine, which Sébastien took over from his father in 2006, is making the most of these exceptional terroirs. This is his top dry Chenin, and it’s lovely.

Domaine Sébastien Brunet Vouvray Les Pentes de la Folie 2015 Loire, France
This Chenin Blanc […]

AA Badenhorst Dassiekop Steen, a thrilling South African Chenin

I’ve spoken of my love of Adi Badenhorst’s Dassiekop before: it’s one of my favourite Chenins. I brought a bottle to New Zealand and shared it with friends. It was lovely.

AA Badenhorst Dassiekop Steen 2015 Swartland, South Africa
This is thrilling. Powerful and spicy with citrus and pear and white peach. Lovely lemony brightness under the […]

Two lovely Languedoc wines from Gayda

Had a look at some samples yesterday after getting home from New Zealand, and these two, from Domaine Gayda, stood out.

Gayda Figure Libre Chenin Blanc 2015 Pays d’Oc, France
13.5% alcohol. Organic farming, sandstone soils, 200 m altitude. Harvested in two tries, with 10% botrytis, and fermented in concrete egg. Full yellow colour. This has a lovely […]