Vinum Africa Chenin Blanc 2016 (Stellenbosch, South Africa) "...white peach, apple, quince..."
The gnarled old bush vines that produce this characterful Chenin Blanc are planted in some of the purest granite soils on the foothills of the magnificent Helderberg Mountain in Stellenbosch. The vines are mainly grown under dryland conditions, meaning they are not irrigated, and this means their roots plunge meters into the granite subsoil in search of moisture. The altitude of the vineyards, steep South East facing slope and the proximity to False Bay mean that these vines are well exposed and cooled by winds that come off the ocean during the long ,hot summer. These factors combine to produce a wonderfully fresh and vivacious expression of what is to us the Cape’s greatest grape.
IN THE CELLAR
Grapes were picked by hand as well as manually sorted to ensure that bunches showing the slightest sign of Botrytis would be excluded. By doing this we maintain the purity of varietal expression that this wine has become known for. Gentle de-stemming before equally gentle pressing in a pneumatic bag press were used and the extracted juice was settled in chilled stainless steel tanks prior to alcoholic fermentation. This took place mainly in tank, on the lees, with about 30% of the must being transferred into small, Burgundian barrels for fermentation –an equal mix of new, 2nd, 3rd & 4th fill. In combination these steps have resulted in the preservation of freshness, but also development of considerable fruit and aromatic intricacy in the wine alongside the mineral edge it so proudly displays. Bottled while still fresh, two months after blending the two components together (to allow them time to fully integrate), the wine retains lively fruit, a lithe texture, steely acidity & abundant aromatic concentration: the exact qualities you’d expect from beautiful old vines in this area
A NOTE FROM THE WINEMAKER
The fresh vibrancy of white peach and apple aromas on the nose, hint at the wine’s sophisticated elegance and a touch of cinnamon and adds to its complexity. A generous mid palate of quince and pineapple and a weighty feel reward while the bright acidity refreshes with an interesting tang. It then tapers off into a clean, mineral finish that allows one to savour the wonderful balance of the wine.