Refreshing World Class Chenin Blancs from South Africa

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  • By Jessica Martinez
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Refreshing World Class Chenin Blancs from South Africa

Traditionally called Steen in South Africa, Chenin Blanc thrives in the cool climates near the Cape of Good Hope. People who discover this often overlooked variety soon discover that grown in the proper places, Chenin produces some of the world's most impressive wines.

There is something about a glass of Chenin Blanc by a pool on a hot day that just hits the spot when it comes to cooling off and feeling refreshed.  If you are a regular at The Wine Country, you frequently will hear me talk about how much I love Chenin Blanc, whether it is from South Africa or even France.

 

I can honestly say that I enjoy all of the Chenin Blancs that I carry in the store.  On my days off during the summer you can find me by a pool with a glass of Chenin in my hand.  This past June weather made this a little difficult (damn you, June gloom) but, anyways enough about me daydreaming of being by a pool with wine onto telling you about some of the great wines you have to look forward to on Thursday July 18th for our Commuter Tasting of refreshing South African white wines.  I know I was gushing about Chenin Blancs, and that is the majority of what I will be pouring but I will probably throw in a Chardonnay and a Sauvignon Blanc as well.

 

2018 Terre Brulee Chenin Blanc, Swartland, South Africa

This 100% vegan-friendly Chenin Blanc comes from the Swartland in South Africa but is made by a Frenchman from the Loire Valley.  Five Vintages ago he brought his expertise to South Africa and began to produce wine. This wine comes from Bush Vine parcels that average 40 years old. The harvest of the grapes were all done by hand then whole bunch pressed with only natural and wild years. Fermentation and aging took place for 9 months on its fine lees in stainless steel tanks (40%) wooden tanks (40%) and 500 liter 2nd use French Oak barrels. The care and time put into this wine truly created one of my favorite Chenin Blancs in the store with a honeysuckle and citrus aroma and a bright seamless acidity. 

$17.99 per bottle

 

2017 Raats Original Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch, South Africa

This wine is a classic example of old vine Chenin Blanc Grown in very specific soil types. It is made without using any Oak to preserve the vibrant fresh fruit characteristic of the Chenin Grape. This lively wine shows distinctive yellow apple and pineapple along with hints of green melon and limes. At the beginning of the palate it is bursting with zesty citrus flavors and finishes at the back with a long mineral finish.

$12.99 per bottle

 

2017 Painted Wolf The Den Chenin Blanc, Paarl, South Africa

The Den wines are made to be shared with friends and family. They are everyday drinking wines that are named after what is the heart of the African wild dog community; the den. This 100% Chenin Blanc has bright aroma and flavor of tropical fruit. It is filled with honeydew, guava, pineapple, joined with savory minerality and a bright acidity. And an added bonus you are helping the wild dogs of South Africa with each bottle purchased.

$11.99 per bottle

 

2017 Beaumont Family Wines Hope Marguerite Chenin Blanc

Bot River, Walker Bay, South Africa

The wine is named after Hope Marguerite Beaumont, and is a reflection of the purity of what a Chenin Blanc should be. The Fruit is selected from their oldest vineyards that were planted in 1974. They use 400L French oak barrels, 22% new wood, and only use natural yeast and to keep as much freshness in the wine they never put it through malolactic fermentation. With the major drought that South Africa has been suffering through 2017 was an exceptionally dry vintage, which produced healthy but small berries. Once in the barrels they stayed on their gross lees for 10 months, which produced this, amazing clean, fresh, strong, fruit forward amazing wine. It is absolutely everything I want from a Chenin Blanc with a great lime, pear, white peach, and guava on the nose and the palate. The palate has this amazing leeys quality that gives the great body and clean long finish that you crave.

$52.99 per bottle

 

2017 Sadie Family Wines Skerpioen Swartland, South Africa

This amazing blend of 50% Chenin Blanc and 50% Palomino (the noble grape of Jerez) wine is unique and is pulled from specific parcels of two vineyards that have chalky limestone soils. The grapes are picked and pressed together and co fermented in old wooden casks. The palate has a great crisp acidity and freshness with ripe grapefruit, white floral, anise, lemon curd, and a nutty complexity. The finish is long with a salty minerality and bright acidity.   

$68.99 per bottle

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