Savennières- Roche aux Moines, a sub-appellation of Savennières AOC, is one of the finest cru of Anjou. Named after the monks of the Abbey of Saint-Nicolas d'Angers who first planted vines in 1130, this celebrated AOC encompasses fewer than 60 planted acres on the right bank of the Loire.
Stony, well-drained schist soils - along with a south-southwest exposure - provide ideal conditions for producing exquisite Chenin Blanc. The eight winegrowers of Savennières-Roche aux Moines adhere to incredibly meticulous farming and winemaking standards that include: organic farming; sole planting of Chenin Blanc; low yields to ensure flavor concentration; hand harvesting over multiple passes; no chaptalization whatsoever; aging of at least 10 months; and estate bottling.
By taking such extraordinary measures to ensure quality, the winemakers from this region are crafting the wines from Roche aux Moines like one would a grand cru. The resulting wines possess a profound eloquence and can age for decades, revealing even greater nuance, complexity, and minerality over time.
100% Chenin Blanc.
Light yellow color with brilliant yellow glints. Complex flavour of spices and exotic fruits with notes of gentian, iris and vanilla on the nose. Impressive structure of the wine. Dense attack with a powerful mid-palate supported by a fine aging. The finish reveals all the austerity of this great terroir with mineral and volcanic notes.
ABV = 13.5%.
** LIMITED IMMEDIATE STOCK **
The 2015 vintage was awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2018 edition expert review of South African old-vine Chenin Blanc (see blue link below). Pretty much every other vintage of the FMC has done similarly!
Situated on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountain, in the heart of South Africa's most famous wine region Stellenbosch, Ken Forrester's vineyards are commonly referred to as the home of Chenin Blanc and other premium award-winning wines. Over the years, this range of top quality wines has received massive national and international acclaim with literally hundreds of awards and accolades. The wines are broadly available in reputable restaurants and exported around the globe. Ken Forrester’s philosophy has always been to create a range of handcrafted, individually made wines that suitably complement a wide variety of food styles and provide excellent value.
100% Chenin Blanc.
See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from Ken.
The pinnacle of what Ken considers 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.
Residual sugar = 7.6 g/litre, so on the margin between dry and off-dry; The FMC always is!
We at Exel like this because it's amazing. Full stop, period, end of. See also our Ken Forrester tasting blog for details of this wine in action.
ABV = 13.0%.
** BROUGHT IN TO ORDER EACH MONDAY; if ordered by 9am on Monday morning, this will be with us by the end of the Wednesday! **
The 2015 vintage was 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).
"Now a non-vintage blend of the 2016 and 2017 harvests, DLS is a funky, waxy, just-off-dry Chenin from Piekenierskloof, deliberately made in an oxidative style. Bready, yeasty and complex, with notes of orange zest and glycerol-derived sweetness". 94/100 Tim Atkin.
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!
See also blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from Ken.
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).
ABV = 14.0%.
Founded in 1912 by Edouard Langlois and his wife Jeanne Château from the outset the company specialized in the sparkling wines. They suffered a major setback in 1915 when Edouard Langlois was killed during the First World War. However the business was carried on by his widow and continued to thrive.
In 1973 they were acquired by the famous champagne house Bollinger and with the financial investment that came with it were able to expand both their cellars and vineyard holdings in Saumur, Saumur-Champigny and Sancerre. In 2007 their winery at Saint-Hilare-Saint-Florent in Saumur was significantly expanded and now handles their entire production and distribution operations which are under the stewardship of the current chief winemaler and general manager, François Régis de Fougeroux. These days in addiition to their renowned Loire Valley sparkling wines their growing range of still wines is also starting to make waves.
Chenin Blanc 100%.
Saumur whites are made from Chenin Blanc and are characteristically crisp and fruity. Here the wine has a pale yellow hue and an intense nose with aromas of ripe stone fruits at first with honey and toasty notes following. Strikingly crisp at first it then shows its real fruitiness and generous, ripe structure. And it wraps up well with a pleasingly fresh and clean citrus finish.
Subtle and elegant it's the ideal companion for raw or cooked shellfish, grilled white fish and even works with asparagus.
ABV = 13.0%.
Awarded 17 points (of 20) on Jancis Robinson's Purple Pages (www.JancisRobinson.com) - reviewer Richard Hemming MW - in July 2020 (see blue link below)....
... and made one of three Wines of the Week (all SA Chenins) on 24th July, 2020, the wine described thus:
"Block W is one of three single-vineyard Chenin Blancs made by Mulderbosch, from a granitic site south of Stellenbosch and close to False Bay. Other than the size of vessel (Mulderbosch choose 1,500-litre foudres for fermentation and maturation), the winemaking and analysis are very similar to those of the Hope Marguerite, yet the result is appreciably different.
There is a creamier texture here, with riper apple fruit. With its nutty complexity and pale golden colour, there is also a suggestion of either slight oxidation or botrytis influence (or both, since they often go together), which combine brilliantly with the fresh acidity and bitter finish".
Founded in 1989, multi-award winning Mulderbosch Vineyards is one of South Africa’s foremost wine producers. As advocates to the Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) code, they manage their vineyards limiting the use of herbicides, fungicides and pesticides. They use a restrained approach in the cellar to produce distinctive and characterful wines that represent the Stellenbosch terroir. Chenin Blanc is the Cape’s signature variety and they have the largest planting of this variety in the world. In 1996, Mulderbosch was one of the very first producers in the Cape to ferment Chenin Blanc in barriques. The resultant wine garnered an avid following and Mulderbosch has since become synonymous with the variety.
The grapes come from the Single Vineyard Block W, which is located in the Rustenhof area of Stellenbosch. The soil is Cambrian Cape granite, a duplex soil with a marked textural contrast between the coarse sandy topsoil and the clay enriched subsoil. The clay subsoil, offers good water retention properties, which help to nourish the vines during the hot summers. The vineyard is situated just over 2.5 miles from the sea and vines are grown at an elevation of 65 to 70 metres. The sea breezes have a cooling influence on the vines, imbuing the grapes with a natural acidity that beautifully balances the ripe, concentrated flavours the grapes reach in this warm, sunny climate.
The 2017 vintage has measured up to the highly-rated 2015s and some argue that the vintage has produced wines of greater purity and intensity of flavour. Windy conditions in the summer of 2016 and leading up to the harvest played a role in moderating excessive temperatures. The increased wind activity had a beneficial effect on the grape quality, notably on the aromatic intensity. Block W was harvested at a low sugar degree to ensure balanced acidity.
The grapes were whole bunch pressed, settled overnight and racked to 1,500 litre foudres for fermentation and maturation. Once fermentation was complete, the wines remained on lees for the duration of their 10 month maturation in barrel, which imparted texture and complexity. The wines were racked and prepared for bottling in January of the following year.
100% Chenin Blanc.
Mineral in profile, this wine is tightly wound in its youth, slowly maturing over time to release delicate floral nuances, trimmed with a finely poised line of acidity. Textured with delicate spice from subtle oak ageing, this is a superlative example of Chenin Blanc with a saline finish.
ABV = 12.0%.
The 2017 vintage was awarded a Gold Medal and 95 points at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).
Stellenrust was established in 1928 and has ever since produced some of the most superb quality wines that the Stellenbosch region from South Africa can offer. It consists of about 400ha (200ha planted) of which half is stretched over the Golden Triangle area of Stellenbosch, internationally recognised for some of the best red wine soil in South Africa. The other half is situated high up in the Bottelary Hills, renowned for its cool climate and late afternoon sea breezes swooping in from Cape Town to nurture both excellent white and red wines.
Stellenrust boasts today being one of South Africa's largest family-owned wine estates, carrying through generations of winemaking skills and the legacy of the motto 'where excellence meets winemaking'.
For this Chenin, grapes are harvested from decomposed granite soils and vineyards varying in age (but none younger than 30 years and up to 42 years of age).
Grapes are allowed short skin contact and natural settling in tank. 12% is fermented in 3rd- and 4th-fill French oak barrels and 88% in stainless steel after, which both portions are kept 5 months on the fermentation lees before it is blended and fined. Fermentation is a slow natural process and wild yeast ferments like this can take up to 3 months to finish.
100% Chenin Blanc.
The Stellenrust Chenin Blanc shows strong lime and some tropical fruit on the nose with a mineral palate of grape fruit and pear drop. Stellenrust class it as off-dry, but state its residual sugar to be just 3.4 g/litre, below the level of sugar detection for nearly all palates!
ABV = 13.5%.