South African Chenin Blanc: some highlights from the Cape Wine beach party

chenin blanc south africa

South African Chenin Blanc: some highlights from the Cape Wine beach party

ken forrester FMC 2005

These are some of the highlights from the Chenin Blanc beach party at Cape Wine, which I caught on Monday afternoon.

It’s great that Chenin Blanc is now fully recognized as one of South Africa’s strongpoints. I guess this isn’t anything new, but the change over recent years is the gain of momentum behind this variety. It’s so adaptable, and this stylistic variation is a source of interest, whether the variation is through soils, aspects, climates or even wine making choices. Interesting fact: Stellenbosch has more old vine Chenin Blanc vineyards than the Swartland. Steadily, this resource of old vines is being translated into interesting vines.

Ken Forrester FMC 2005 Stellenbosch, South Africa (from magnum)
Very rich, spicy and warm. Intense and bold, yet quite nuanced with apricot and spice notes. This is textured and deep, with nice fig and spice notes. 92/100

Ken Forrester FMC 2013 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Fresh and vivid, with citrus, pear and spice fruit. Quite rich with lovely tangy marmalade and apricot notes. Very rich, with some sweetness, but has balance and freshness. 92/100

jean daneel chenin

Jean Daneel Signature Chenin Blanc 2014 Western Cape, South Africa
This is sourced from the Swartland, from old bush vines. Fermented and aged in French oak for 12 months, 25% new. Broad and stylish with nice depth and texture, showing pear and white peach fruit and some subtle toastiness. Has a lovely delicacy to it despite the richness. Very fine. 93/100

Jean Daneel Directors Signature Chenin Blanc 2014 Western Cape, South Africa
This is a barrel selection of the signature Chenin from old bush vines, and it’s fermented and aged in 100% new French oak. Direct, complex white peach and pear fruit. Very supple and fine with nice spiciness that swallows the oak really well. Fresh and detailed. 94/100


Leeuwenkuil Chenin Blanc 2013 Swartland, South Africa
Harvested at 18-22 Balling, whole bunch pressed, natural ferment in the barrel. Complex, broad, fresh and multidimensional. Some nuts and wax, with fine spiciness. There’s a lovely brightness to this wine, with real depth. 93/100


Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Old Bush Vine Chenin Blanc 2014 South Africa
From estate fruit and fermented in second and third use barrels. Nice freshness here with some pear and peach fruit, as well as citrus brightness. Nice precision. Textured and fresh. 91/100

Mulderbosch W Chenin Blanc 2014 Stellenbosch, South Africa
This is one of the single vineyard Chenins from Mulderbosch, and its from the vineyard site closest to the ocean. Fine, expressive and fresh with nice pure pear fruit and some spice. Expressive on the nose. Textured and rich but still fresh with a lemony edge to the bold fruit. Lively and powerful. 94/100

radford dale renaissance chenin

Radford Dale The Renaissance of Chenin Blanc 2015 Stellenbosch, South Africa (barrel sample)
Uninoculated with no added acid, whole-bunch pressed. Pure, nuanced and quite fine with lovely apple and pear fruit, as well as subtle fennel notes. This has lovely weight and purity, and flavours of ripe apples. 93/100

fledge & co hoeksteen

The Fledge & Co Hoeksteen Chenin Blanc 2014 Stellenbosch, South Africa
From 30 year old bush vines, unwooded, 9 months on lees. Fine, bright and expressive with nicely textured citrus and pear fruit. Subtle apple notes, too. This is stylish and distinctive with lovely fruit character. 93/100

Simonsig Chenin Avec Chêne 2014 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Rich, spicy and stylish with nice richness. Notes of mandarin, honey and toast. The full palate is powerful yet fresh with nice concentration and brightness along with depth of flavour. 92/100

Find these wines with

2 Comments on South African Chenin Blanc: some highlights from the Cape Wine beach partyTagged ,
wine journalist and flavour obsessive

2 thoughts on “South African Chenin Blanc: some highlights from the Cape Wine beach party

  1. Interesting to compare the prices of these wines. For me the Simonsig is the QPR wine and tends to be my “house” chenin in the Cape as well as Kloof Street and Migliarina

Leave a Reply

Back To Top