The wonderful thing about celebrating Chenin Blanc in a winter month is the opportunity for creating a fragrant and flavourful curry to compliment the complex profile of the finest crisp Chenin Blanc, today we look at the typical tasting notes of the top Chenin Blanc producers.
The typical tasting notes of top Chenin Blanc producers:
Ken Forrester Petit Chenin Blanc : Perfect everyday drinking wine. A youthful fresh wine with quince and pear drop flavours. Earlier picked freshness shows on palate with crunchy green apple and grapefruit flavours. Good mouthfeel and appetisingly tangy finish.
Kaapzicht Chenin Blanc : Ripe quince, pineapple and stone fruit with some interesting savoury undertones. Lightly textured palate, with a hint of sweetness and balancing crunchy acid, results in a brisk finish.
Cederberg Chenin Blanc : The Cederberg style Chenin Blanc offers beautiful layers of melon, grapefruit and fleshy white pear. Five months lees contact ensured a mouth coating creaminess on the palate with a lively crisp acidity to finish off. Altitude vineyards make this Chenin Blanc truly unique.
Kleine Zalze Cellar Selection Chenin Blanc Bush Vines : Aromas of ripe pineapple and guava jump out of the glass. This is followed by a rich and ripe palate, beautifully balanced by lemon-lime freshness on the back palate. Flinty mineral notes that linger on the finish definitely mean that this delicious wine will mature gracefully over the next 3 to 5 years.
Stellenrust Chenin Blanc: This Chenin Blanc shows strong lime and some tropical fruit on the nose with a mineral palate of grape fruit and pear drop.
De Morgenzon DMZ Chenin Blanc : Green apple, apricot, peach, hints of honey and floral aromas characterize a fresh and upfront nose. The palate is rich and well integrated with a lingering aftertaste.
A typical Chenin Blanc is described as fresh and fruity, and it is meant to be consumed young, the fresh-and-fruity category is a refreshing and approachable style of Chenin Blanc. “Maturation in tank allows the true fruit expression of Chenin to come through,” says Sebastian Beaumont, winemaker at Beaumont Wines.
Bright, fruit-forward aromas and flavors can range from tart Granny Smith apple, green plum and lime to more robust notes of ripe stone or tropical fruit, melon and clementine, framed by lifting acidity. There can also be lively herbal or floral characters, like wild scrub bush or orange blossom. Attractive nuances of fynbos — the Afrikaans term for the natural shrubs and vegetation that stretch across the Western Cape— often add a distinctly South African character to the bouquet, as do delicate mineral hints of slate, chalk and flint.
“The Chenin Blanc style I prefer must show white and yellow fruit on the nose, combined with soft citrus flavors and mineral hints,” says Bruwer Raats, owner and winemaker of Raats Family Wines. “The palate must show a bright entrance, richness on the midpalate, with a very fresh and clean finish that shows a well-balanced minerality and acidity. If you can produce a Chenin Blanc like this, it doesn’t matter whether oak was used or not.”
Fresh and fruity Chenin is an attractive alternative to unoaked Chardonnay. “The magic of Chardonnay is its amazing ability to interact with barrels and transform itself from something quite simple to something rich and complex,” says David Trafford, owner and winemaker of De Trafford Wines and Sijnn. “Rich and ripe unwooded Chenin from South Africa is a far better option.”