Saturday, 28 January 2012
Hopeful Chenin: a view from South Africa
Jim in South Africa with Lucy Warner – 2001
A view from Tim James on South African Chenin Blanc – highlighting their good fortune in having a significant proportion of old vines.
Cinderella and workhorse were favourite clichés to describe the role of chenin blanc in the local wine industry of olden days. Well, it is a good few years since the horse has come to the ball and it is great to have her.
Although the quality of chenin blancs has undoubtedly improved (as well as being sometimes pushed too far with excessive ripeness, sugar and oak), quantity has fallen drastically. Chenin blanc used to occupy a third of the Cape vineyard, but is now at little more than 18%.
But no other variety has as large a proportion of old vines - many 40 years old at least - giving low crops, the intensity and finesse of which wine-lovers should happily pay a premium for and, incidentally, help to save such vineyards from ruthless, axe-wielding accountants.'
Submitted by Tim James on 24 January, 2012 - 07:31
Link to the Chenin Blanc Association based in South Africa.