Greg Sherwood, MW 96+/100 Wine Safari Score. Read the full review here.
ORIGIN: Kogelberg Biosphere, Elgin Valley, South Africa. Bottelary Hills, Stellenbosch, South Africa.
TASTING NOTE: Our crafted Chenin is meticulously grown in the cool Elgin Valley and a small portion from old bush vines in Stellenbosch and fermented in handmade, old world styled clay amphorae. These key attributes afford a wine with broad layers of ripe pears, fresh stone fruit and white flowers on a canvas of flinty, wet stone that contributes to the overall texture.
PHILOSOPHY: Our Chenin for the Fine Art Collection reflects a sophisticated approach to a variety that is widely planted in the Western Cape. A cool site in a unique part of the Elgin Valley was selected specifically for its flinty, wet stone attributes that would enhance restraint and classical notes with a modern new world touch. The Chenin from the Bottelary Hills in Stellenbosch contributes fleshy nectarine and richness on the mid palate for added complexity.
VINEYARDS: Grapes were selected from a single vineyard in Elgin grown on red Laterite Soils also known as “koffieklip” or coffee stone as it resembles the same structure as ground coffee. The vines are vertically shoot positioned on a 5-wire fence trellis system planted 2.2m x 1.2m apart on south to south-east facing vineyards for maximum, even budburst in spring and even vine ripening throughout the season. The Chenin grown in Bottelary Hills is from old bush vines on lighter soil structure. Harvest took place in early March at vine ripeness.
WINEMAKING: Cluster and berry sorting prior to being partially crushed before pressing commenced. The mash was pressed in a pneumatic bag press where both free run and pressed juice fractions were treated oxidatively with minimal chemical additives. The juice was settled cold at 120 Celsius in a stainless steel tank for two days and decanted into the clay amphorae for spontaneous fermentation. Once fermentation was completed, 500 Li was decanted to oak casks for further maturation. The wine in the French coopered barrels was partially allowed to go through secondary fermentation known as malo- lactic fermentation where malic (the firmer green apple tasting acid) is converted to lactic (softer milk tasting acid) and further matured for 11 months. The clay amphorae had no malo-lactic fermentation so that the fresher flinty character would be maintained. After 11 months, the two components were blended and bottled.
RECOMMENDED FOOD PAIRING: Japanese Edomae sushi Indonesian styled fare, tempura vegetables, pea shoot/ young stem broccoli with lemon infused risotto
RECOMMENDED BOTTLE MATURATION: The wine is approachable in its youth with fresh, bright aromatics and may age well for up to 8 years. Primary fruit aspects include white pears, fresh nectarines and may evolve into almond paste, baked apple and spicy cardamom notes.
ACCOLADES: 2017 Tim Atkin MW Cape Report: 94 Points (2016) 2018 Tim Atkin MW Cape Report: 94 points (2017) 2019 Jon Platter Guide: 94 points (2017) 2018 John Platter Guide: 93 points (2016) 2019 Greg Sherwood MW: 95 points (2017)