Chenin Blanc

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Domaine Saint-Nicolas Michon Haut des Clous, Fiefs Vendeens Chenin Blanc 2014 (6x75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2017 edition review of Loire Dry Chenins (see blue link below).

 

Fiefs Vendeens 2014 - February 2017 Decanter review

 

An elegant, fully dry Loire Chenin from the Fiefs Vendéens appellation; whereas much of the Loire’s better-known Chenins originate from way upstream in the Touraine or Anjou-Saumur, this comes from just where the river spills into the Atlantic below Nantes.

 

Indeed, Domaine Saint-Nicolas is precisely why Fiefs Vendéen is known. Michon are biodymanic producers and the Hauts des Clous is the epitome of their art. It has a progressive intensity with great tension and freshness, apple and peach aromas, a very smooth texture and long finish. There are not many dry Chenins like this.

 

£147.90

Domaine Vieux Vauvert Vouvray 2015 (1x 75cl)

Chenin Blanc is much the preserve of South African winemakers these days, but its origins lie in the Loire Valley. Savennières and Coteaux de Layon are perhaps the most famous Loire Chenins, but not always entirely ‘price accessible’. Vouvray provides an elegant and very affordable solution. The Vieux Vauvert is medium-dry (which is to say, there’s just a hint of sweetness) with a lively fresh finish. This wine has a plethora of flavours to share: among them, ripe apple, quince, lime and citrus blossom.

£11.65

Dusty Road Chenin Blanc 2015 (1x75cl)

This crisp, dry white with tropical fruit flavours is best enjoyed as an aperitif or with light meals. It is best enjoyed as an aperitif or with light meals.

£7.20

Dusty Road Chenin Blanc 2016 (1x 75cl)

 This crisp, dry white with tropical fruit flavours is best enjoyed as an aperitif or with light meals.  Best enjoyed as an aperitif or with light meals.

£7.26

Fairview Darling Chenin Blanc 2017 (1x75cl)

Fairview is situated on the lower slopes of Mount Paarl, which is more sheltered from the moderating maritime influence than nearby Stellenbosch. Vines were planted here as early as 1699. The property was bought by the grandfather of current owner Charles back in 1937. Fairview has a reputation for consistent quality across a range of innovative styles, using both classic and unusual varieties. Charles leads the field in South Africa in matching varieties to specific sites. The Fairview estate now has a total of 586 hectares of vineyard over four appellations: Paarl (350 hectares), Swartland (115 hectares), Darling (86 hectares) and Stellenbosch (35 hectares). This vineyard ownership in so many different regions allows Charles to produce a wide range of wines, from grapes grown in optimal conditions. In 2014, Charles received a lifetime achievement award from the International Wine Challenge.

The grapes for this wine are from a bushvine vineyard on the west facing hills outside Darling, at approximately 300 metres above sea level. The vineyard was planted in 2001 on Richter 99 rootstock and is dryland farmed. The soil in this vineyard is decomposed granite, differentiating it from the surrounding vineyards which are mainly oakleaf soils.

The fruit was handpicked in the early hours of the morning and delivered cold to the cellar. Here it was destalked and gently pressed. The free-run juice settled for two days before the clear juice was racked off and cold fermented in tank. On completion of fermentation, the wine was left on fine lees before bottling.

Vibrant light green in colour with fruity aromas of melon and pear on the nose. The palate is fresh and crisp with lengthy, well balanced acidity and flavours of limey minerality typical to the Darling vineyards.

£10.35

Flagstone Noon Gun Chenin Blanc-Sauvignon Blanc-Viognier 2015 (1x 75cl)

Intense, aromatic, tropical fruit flavours spiked with a wedge of orange peel and a sprinkling of baking spice.

£8.20

Gabrielskloof Elodie Chenin Blanc 2015 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their December 2017 edition review of Old-vine South Africa

Gabrielskloof Elodie 2015 - December 2017 Decanter review

Gabriëlskloof is a beautiful wine estate located near Bot River in the Overberg region east of Cape Town. It was purchased in 2001 by Bernhard Heyns, who had been on the lookout for the ideal place to plant vines. After planting, his first vintage was in 2009. We felt compelled to add Gabriëlskloof to our list because Peter-Allan Finlayson, Bernhard’s son in law, took over as winemaker from the 2015 vintage. The farm has 300 hectares, with 68 hectares planted to vines. The climate is cool with maritime influences coming from Walker Bay. The vineyards are farmed sustainably with the aim to move to organic farming in the future.

The two vineyards used to make this wine are situated in the Paardeberg region of the Swartland. Both are estimated to be over 35 years old. They are dryland bush vine vineyards and have never been irrigated. These vineyards are very labour intensive to farm and, as a result of the arid conditions, yield little fruit (between one and three tonnes per hecatre). South Africa is the only New World country that has significant plantings of old-vine Chenin Blanc and Elodie is an expression of what can be made from this national treasure.

The grapes were whole bunch pressed with no additions. After an overnight rough settling in tank, the juice was transfered to 400 and 500 litre old French oak barrels, where it fermented wild and remained until blending before bottling.

This wine is light and pale in colour with a golden straw hue. On the nose, subtle aromas of citrus pith and white floral notes settle into layers of almond, dried pineapple and lanolin. The palate is restrained with a viscous, waxy mouthfeel and great natural acidity and freshness typical of old-vine Chenin.

£19.65

Intellego The Story of Harry Chenin Blanc 2016 (6x75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2017 edition review of Natural Wines (see blue link below).

 

The Story of Harry 2016 - May 2017 Decanter review

 

We have been on a mission to find out about Harry and his washing line but it would seem he is a man of mystery and has eluded us for the moment! We can however tell you about the delicious wine named after him.

 

Intellego Wines focus on making terroir driven wines from the Swartland with a very hands on approach in the winery and vineyards. The wines of Intellego are made using organic methods but do not  yet carry an official organic certification.  Jurgen Gouws, the winemaker at Intellego, has worked in many countries including Spain, France, New Zealand, Russia and South Africa.  Since January 2015 he has concentrated on producing and renting vineyards for his winemaking venture at Intellego in Swartland, South Africa.

 

The grapes for "The Story of Harry" Chenin Blanc are harvested manually and the grape must is then fermented by malolactic fermentation in French oak barrels using only indigenous yeasts.  This gives the wine a soft, rounded and rich, almost buttery flavour.  The wine is then matured in old French oak for seven months before being bottled with no filtration or fining. 

£138.78

Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc Reserve 2016 (1x 75cl)

The Forrester, mid-rank (which does it no justice), Reserve-level Chenin and amazing value from the King of Chenin.

Hand harvested, with careful selection from low trellis and old bush vines.

Barrel and tank fermented and left on the lees (9 months in French oak, 20% of which was new) and matured on secondary lees for a rounded complexity.

Golden hued and full bodied, with melon and spicy baked apple aromas. Layered, with mineral notes enhanced by honeycomb and caramel flavours from lees contact. This wine is a great example of the harmonious balance which can be achieved between fruit and delicate oak/vanilla flavours, as they combine to form complex, soft flavours with sufficient body to enhance even spicy and full flavoured meals.

Can be served with varied spicy dishes, full flavoured fish or chicken dishes. Ideal with crayfish, prawns.A true benchmark for relaxed enjoyment

£10.55

Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc Reserve 2017 (1x75cl)

The Forrester, mid-rank (which does it no justice), Reserve-level Chenin and amazing value from the King of Chenin.

Hand harvested, with careful selection from low trellis and old bush vines.

Barrel and tank fermented and left on the lees (9 months in French oak, 20% of which was new) and matured on secondary lees for a rounded complexity.

Golden hued and full bodied, with melon and spicy baked apple aromas. Layered, with mineral notes enhanced by honeycomb and caramel flavours from lees contact. This wine is a great example of the harmonious balance which can be achieved between fruit and delicate oak/vanilla flavours, as they combine to form complex, soft flavours with sufficient body to enhance even spicy and full flavoured meals.

Can be served with varied spicy dishes, full flavoured fish or chicken dishes. Ideal with crayfish, prawns.A true benchmark for relaxed enjoyment

£10.55

Ken Forrester Dirty Little Secret Chenin Blanc 2015 (1x 75cl)

** SEE AVAILABILITY NOTE BELOW **

Awarded 95 points and rare Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their December 2017 edition "Steven Spurrier's Fine Wines" column (see blue link below).

Dirty Little Secret 2015 - Dec 2017 Decanter review

Without the efforts of men like Ken Forrester, South African Chenin Blanc might be scarcely more than a footnote to the country’s recent winemaking history.  This Zambia-born former restaurateur saw beyond the grape’s obvious quaffability, placing it firmly at the centre of his resurrection of the historic Scholtzenhof farm on the slopes of Stellenbosch’s Helderberg mountain in the early 1990s.
Twenty years on, Ken is affectionately known as ‘Mr Chenin’. 

When not revolutionising the South African wine industry, Ken remains a staunch family man, also surrounded by a veritable menagerie of several dogs, horses, stable cats, geese, owls and guineafowl. And he hasn’t entirely left his restaurant days behind – Ken part-owns renowned nearby restaurant 96 Winery Road with his brother Allan (also restaurant manager), winemaker Martin Meinert and chef Natasha Wray.

This wine is made by soaking the grape juice on the skins and stalks before pressing takes place in wooden vats. The fermentation is done using wild or natural yeasts after which malolactic fermentation is allowed to occur before the wine is moved into French oak barrels for a 5-month "rest" before being bottled with no filtration.

The result is a tight, bright, minerally wine with  good texture and mouthfeel and an interesting hint of phenolic structure - like soft acidity and pear drop intensity.  It has been built to age and gain complexity in bottle.

The Ken Forrester Winery have taken a trip backwards in time to make a thoroughly modern wine. A wine that will age beautifully for at least the next ten years, a tribute to the age and concentration of the vines, as well as to low, very low interruptive winemaking, a natural wine in every sense and finally bottled totally naturally with no cold stabilization or fining and it is crystal clear, slightly golden in a good way, with a still lime green rim and how did they do that? Well it's unfiltered, unfined ... and just a Dirty Little Secret - naturally!

Very vibrant in the glass  - a bright gold with green glint to the rim. Nose is intense but restrained, with lots of character: set honey, baked apple strudel, warm spice and a touch of grapefruit. The palate is concentrated and tight but will open out. What you find on the nose transfers to the pallet, but with a fresh acidity holding it together. A beautiful texture. This should hold together over the next 10-20 yrs. (Exel's thanks to importer John for this tasting note).

** CURRENTLY NOT IN STOCK WITH US OR AT THE UK IMPORTER, BUT EXPECTED BY LATE DECEMBER. WE NEED FIRM ORDERS BY THE END OF NOVEMBER IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO TAKE SOME. SUPPLY IS VERY TIGHT **

£55.20

Ken Forrester Petit Chenin 2016 (1x 75cl)

Without the efforts of men like Ken Forrester, South African Chenin Blanc might be scarcely more than a footnote to the country’s recent winemaking history – a workhorse grape responsible for vast amounts of forgettably bland white wine. But this Zambia-born former restaurateur saw beyond the grape’s obvious quaffability, placing it firmly at the centre of his resurrection of the historic Scholtzenhof farm on the slopes of Stellenbosch’s Helderberg mountain in the early 1990s. Twenty years on, Ken is known as ‘Mr Chenin’. When not revolutionising the South African wine industry, Ken remains a staunch family man, also surrounded by a veritable menagerie of several dogs, horses, stable cats, geese, owls and guineafowl. 

This is a youthful fresh wine with quince and pear drop flavours.  There is real freshness showing on the palate with crunchy green apple and grapefruit flavours. Good mouthfeel and appetisingly tangy finish.

Goes well with lighter foods such as salads or chicken and fish.

Ageing Potential - Should last half an hour with the cap off and reach for the next bottle!

 

£8.25

Ken Forrester The FMC Chenin 2015 (1x75cl)

The previous 2014 vintage was awarded 95 points and rare Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their November 2016 edition review of South African Chenin Blanc (see blue link below). The 2015 vintage has simply not been reviewed yet!

Ken Forrester FMC CB 2014 - Nov 2016 Decanter review

The pinnacle of what we consider to be the finest expression of the grapes of this varietal, an icon Chenin and a challenge to the world! Rich, layered with dried apricot, vanilla and honey. Will gain additional complexity with cellaring.

We like this because it's amazing. Full stop, period, end of. See our Ken Forrester tasting blog for details.

£24.00

L.A.S. Vino CBDB (Chenin Blanc Dynamic Blend) 2015 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their December 2017 edition review of Margaret River (Australia) (see blue link below).

LAS Vino CBDB 2015 - Dec 2017 Decanter review

LAS Vino is the creation of Nic Peterkin, son of Mike Peterkin of Pierro winery and Shelley Cullen, Vanya Cullen's sister. Nic did a Masters in Oenology and, after vintages in the Napa, Mexico, Portugal and Mendoza, started his own label. LAS refers to the Luck of the weather, the Art of creating and the Science that underpins this creativity. The result is a small quantity of high quality, hand-made wines. The packaging is as impressive as the wine: bottled in dark French glass, closed under Vinolok and sealed with wax, it is finish with the striking, hand drawn labels. The wines fulfil Nic's stated aim: to make interesting wines with minimum intervention but within the bounds of science.

Fruit for the CBDB comes from 25-year-old vines planted in vineyards in the Willyabrup region. Located in the heart of Western Australia's renowned Margaret River wine region, Willyabrup is surrounded by open water on three sides and the vineyards are swept by pure, cool sea breezes blowing in from the Indian and Southern Oceans, retaining the aromatic perfume of the grapes. The gravel subsoil ensures good drainage, while the high clay content enables good water retention throughout the summer for vine development. The vines are trained using vertical shoot positioning.

All grapes were hand picked on the same day, in the early cool hours of the morning, then chilled to preserve finesse and aroma. The fruit was then hand sorted and cold pressed as whole bunches. The juice was left to settle and ferment naturally. Once fermentation began, the wine was transferred to neutral French oak barrels. 10% of the wine underwent malolactic fermentation to add complexity and creaminess. The barrels were hand stirred every two weeks to enhance texture. The wine was bottled after 10 months in oak.

Clear pale straw in colour. Complex aromas including peach blossom, honeysuckle and citrus, with subtle honey, almond and tropical fruit. The wine is full-bodied and almost creamy on the palate with touches of lemon, lime, honey and cream. The finish lingers with hints of lemon meringue.

£29.80

MAN Vintners Chenin Blanc 2017 (1x75cl)

M•A•N Family Wines began in 2001 when three friends got together with the aim of making wine that they’d love to buy - quality wine with smart packaging, but at price they could afford. Next they needed a name that would unite their three families, but particularly appeal to their wives after they’d unsuccessfully convinced them that their winemaking venture was a sacrifice rather than a lot of fun. To keep the peace in the families, they took their wives’ initials - Marie, Anette and Nicky – to create M•A•N Family Wines. Owners José Conde and brothers Tyrrel and Philip Myburgh are supported by 30 dedicated grape growers from the Agter-Paarl region who are also shareholders in the business. All M•A•N growers are accredited as environmentally sustainable and socially responsible farmers by the South African Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) scheme and the South African Wine Industry Ethical Trade Association (WIETA). They make wines that are modern and distinctive with a touch of Old World elegance. They are wines that they like to call "daily wines for wine geeks." 

Tropical fruit, guava and melon aromas, crisp and bold sweet citrus backed by refreshing acidity and minerality characteristic of the coastal vineyards.  

A versatile food wine to go with most poultry, fish and salad dishes. Also fabulous as an aperitif for a hot summer afternoon. Serve chilled.

£8.10
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