Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Saturday, 28 November 2009

A couple of 2009 Chenins from Kleine Zalze

Having recently received these 2009 Chenins - Zalze and Kleine Zalze from the eponymous winery I decided to try them out last night as our globetrotting neighbour was popping up for a aperitif and something to eat.

2009 Chenin Blanc Zalze

We started on the screwcappped Zalze with its fresh passion fruit and pineapple flavours, pleasantly crisp in spite of its 14% alcohol. After a few sips the acidity becomes rather discordant – the fruit and the acidity don't quite marry. 60% of the grapes come from bush vines and are picked ripe with a little botrytis present with the rest of the fruit picked earlier to give freshness and acidity. Perhaps the wine needs a little more time in bottle for the two fruit styles to blend together. Equally I don't know whether the acidity was adjusted. I'll have to check but it's possible, although the purpose of picking a part of the fruit before it was fully ripe would have been to obviate the need to adjust the acidity. However, the Zalze did work well with a garlicky hummus. All in all reasonable, if not sensational, value at £5.99.

We paired the 2009 Chenin Blanc, Vineyard Selection, Kleine Zlaze with a seafood and wild mushroom risotto – a decidedly successful match. The Chenin comes from bush vines in the Helderberg region with fermentation starting in stainless steel tanks before being put into barrel – 30% new, 70% second-fill. On third goes through malo and the wine stays in barrel for three months. As one would expect and hope the Vineyard Selection has more concentration, complexity than the Zalze and much more harmonious blend of fruit and acidity. There is attractive tropical fruit and a touch of nicely judged oak.

Difficult to compare values as the Kleine Zalze is aimed at the on-trade and its price on a restaurant list is estimated at £35. Given customary restaurant mark-ups this suggests that the Kleine Zalze would probably retail around £9.99-£10.99.

2009 Chenin Blanc, Zalze, Western Cape. £5.99 Waitrose
2009 Chenin Blanc, Vineyard Selection, Kleine Zalze, £35 approx. on a restaurant list


Anonymous said...

Jim, I have been picking up some SA Chenin as a couple of reps seem to be bringing in some nice wines of late. At least the ones I have tasted downtown.

Alberta Bob.

Jim's Loire said...

I agree Bob there are some very good South African Chenins. What have you been tasting?