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. More than twenty years on, Ken is known as ‘Mr Chenin’.
For all the 'late harvest' title, to be clear, this is (also) a botrytised (nobly-rotted) Chenin Blanc. The Forrester vineyards are blessed with botrytis in most years and with multiple pickings/tris (4 or 5 times), manage to maintain a perfect natural acid balance with the sweetness, creating a wine of exceptional finesse and balance. This rich, unctuous Chenin Blanc was harvested as late as May (winter in South Africa). They allow the juice to ferment in 400-litre, new French oak barrels with the natural yeast and to mature in-barrel for 18 months.
This golden wine with fresh, sumptuous peach, dried apricot flavours, overlaid with a tropical lushness of melon and pineapple. Ripe sweetness, yet tangy, with sweet and sour zip flavours like baked apples with clove spice, wood spice and honey on the finish.