For the last couple of days I have been judging the Standard Bank Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge, held at Klein Zalze in Stellenbosch. 126 different wines were entered, and the panel of five, chaired by Cristian Eedes, tasted all of them, and then retasted the top 32 wines to select 10 winners. So here [...]
So this evening I am flying to South Africa again. Just for a few days this time. And I’m going while it’s winter there, which is bad planning. There’s nothing like a dose of summer dropped into February or March to raise the spirits. Fortunately, Cape Town winters are pretty much like bad English summers, [...]
I enjoyed this: it’s the first time I’ve had a Portuguese Chenin Blanc.
Now Portugal is blessed with a wide array of its own varieties, so you might ask why any serious Portuguese wine grower would look elsewhere for foreign varieties to play with. But Chenin could be a worthy exception to this rule, because it [...]
Here’s the second of my short films from Cape Wine. This time I quiz some of South Africa’s leading wine growers about Chenin Blanc in South Africa. They have some interesting things to say.
Up bright and early on Monday morning to head into Cape Town for the Chenin Blanc Association conference.
Ken Forrester, Chenin advocate
Chenin is a super grape and South Africa has half of the world’s plantings. It represents 18% of South Africa’s vineyard area, so it’s a big deal here.
I learned a lot from the conference. [...]
Two wines I shall go out and buy: the red and white LAMs by Swartland start Lammershoek, who since the 2010 vintage have been on fire. These were tasted today at the Richards Walford tasting. Retail price on both is £11, which makes them real bargains. And I love the labels.
LAM by Lammershoek Chenin Blanc/Viognier [...]
I am properly tired. The third day of the London International Wine Fair (held in the Docklands, above) was a good one, but after a late night last night (at the wonderful Brawn), an early-ish start this morning, and some residual illness from the weekend, and I’m spent, gov. Nothing left in the tank. Oh, [...]
Wine and cheese. Not always a great match, but here’s a combination that worked well. Queijo de Serra da Estrela is a fantastic cheese from Portugal. It’s made in the Beiras region, on the border with the Dao wine region, from sheep’s milk. The sheep are farmed on the foothills of the Serra da Estrela [...]
This is a superb wine. Now almost 7 years old, and developing beautifully. At 13% alcohol, it’s not one of the overblown, ripe styles. Instead, it’s fresh, ripe and textured with some pear and pith notes, as well as a hint of white peach. It’s Jean Daneel Signature Chenin Blanc 2004, from South Africa’s Stellenbosch [...]
I’m trying hard to get my head around Chenin Blanc, but it’s a difficult grape to understand. What does Chenin taste like? Very hard to answer. Here are three good examples. But I wouldn’t say these are typical Chenin because I don’t know what typical Chenin is.
Christian Chenin Blanc 2006 Barossa
12% alcohol. Hand picked, basket [...]