A good year for Chenin Blanc
The Standard Bank Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge uncovered that pure fruit, more texture, greater structure, versatility and pushed boundaries is what Chenin Blanc is all about.
Seven of the top 10 wineries have been included on the top ten list, confirming their reputation for making superior Chenin Blanc.
The wineries are: Bellingham, DeMorgenzon, Kleine Zalze (with two wines in the 2016 top 10 line up) Leopards Leap, Perdeberg, Rijk’s and Spier. New winners included Allée Bleue and Boschendal.
A total of 124 wines were entered, all of which were tasted blind by a five-person panel with no indication of vintage, cellar treatment or technical analysis. The panel of judges included Christian Eedes, one of South Africa’s most respected wine judges as chairperson of the judging panel; Jamie Goode from the United Kingdom, a London-based wine writer and currently wine columnist at UK national newspaper The Sunday Express; Higgo Jacobs, certified with the Court of Master Sommeliers and wine judge; Cathy van Zyl, Master of Wine, regular judge and associate editor of Platter’s South African Wine Guide, as well as wine writer and certified wine judge Samarie Smith, and Tinashe Nyamudoka, sommelier at the well-known Test Kitchen, South Africa’s number one restaurant.
According to Eedes this was a good year for Chenin Blanc overall. “Chenin Blanc is such a complicated category to judge, because of the diversity of styles. And this year was no exception. The competition received entries with a wide diversity of styles – from clean and fresh fruit to oxidative ones – and they all worked. There really is a style for every consumer out there. This category seems to go from strength to strength. We could see and taste that there is a general confidence among South African winemakers when they are working with this grape and a real conviction of what they want to do with this grape. It was a really great year for Chenin”.
For Ken Forrester, chairman of the Chenin Blanc Association, this year’s line-up and the overall quality is proof that Chenin is going places. “Across the board, the wines are world class.”
“We are proud to be associated with South African Chenin Blanc and the wine industry as a whole,” said Willie du Plessis, Standard Bank Executive Business Banking Head in the Western Cape. By giving recognition to this grape variety we form part of a better wine industry for all. As indicated by the Top 10 winners, all of them are donating their prize money to various charities and worthy courses in and among their areas including Sunfield Home, the Du Toitskloof DGB Mobile Library, the Anna Foundation, Kusasa, The Agroecology Academy and crèches in Mbekweni and at Allée Bleue. And so we pay it forward.”