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A little history on SA White Wine – Chenin Blanc

A beautiful Spring blossom in the winelands

Spring is here and summer is on the way!

A beautiful Spring blossom in the winelands

What that means for wine lovers in South Africa, is that it’s time to break out the cold and crisp white wine varietals again!

We thought we would give you a few facts about white wine in South Africa. I say South Africa, but most of the country’s wine is grown right here in the Western Cape, which is of course why we are based here. #wineloversforlife.

Of all of the vineyards in South Africa, the majority (around 55% in 2014) is white grapes and of that 18% is Chenin Blanc. This may seem like a little, but South Africa has more chenin blanc hectares under vine than the Loire Valley in France (weird, because that’s where the grape is form originally).

First known as Steen and later called Chenin Blanc, a much more regal name for a much more regal varietal.

So what is so great about the Chenin?

Mainly its versatility, the wine is known to produce all styles of wine, from bone-dry to luscious as well as sparkling wine and used in many blends, and although not a lot of new vines are beong planted, the older bush vines around are prized posessions to wine farmers.

Not all vineyards are created equal and even in a province as small as the Western Cape, location is everything.

This is because the type of climate differs over the province and that different climate transfers different characteristics into the grapes.

 

For instance:

Asara Chenin Blanc - a warm climate Chenin Cool Climate Chenin Blanc’s can be found in the Elgin Valley region, and along the coast. Ondine Chnin from Ormonde Estate in Darling – these wines tend to be unwooded and show a lime green colour with fruit aromas of Guava and Lees. The winemakers tend to go for a smooth creat palate whilst keeping a crisp acidity.

Warm Climate Chenin Blanc’s can be found in the Stellenbosch and Franschhoek region. Asara Chenin Blanc in Stellenbosch – This lightly wooded wine is a golden straw colour with tropical fruits such as pineapple and honeysuckle aroma’s. The palate is rich and slightly oily with a layer of stone fruits such as apricots and peach with a mouth filling acidity.

 

 

Just reading the two different tasting notes on two wines made from the same grapes in very different parts of the province you can see how different and versatile a this amazing grape can be!

So get out and get tasting some amazingly diverse Chenin Blanc’s that the Western Cape wine region has to offer!