De Wet Viljoen, Neethlingshof winemaker
Chenin Blanc, continuing an old tradition at Neethlingshof
20 July 2012 by Neethlingshof
It's the first Chenin blanc he's made in almost a decade since his
arrival at Neethlingshof but he is not breaking new ground doing so for
decades ago it was by far the dominant cultivar on the farm accounting
for almost 70% of production.
Talking about his new wine is De Wet Viljoen, winemaker of this well-known estate on the Polkadraai road outside the well-known university town established by Simon van der Stel, father of the South African wine industry.
Stellenbosch, he says, has always offered excellent terroir for quality Chenin blanc and Neethlingshof, nestled between the Bottelary hills and Papegaaisberg, is no exception. When a start was made at the turn of the century with the replanning of the entire farm, Chenin blanc was identified as one of the cultivars that would flourish in its deep, fertile soils.
The first block was planted in 2008 and the young vines produced only their second crop this year. “I will only bottle a wine when completely satisfied with it. Last year the first crop was blended away in other wines for the vines were just too young to produce the intensity of fruit we need. This year the quality is much better and I have no qualms about putting our name to this addition to our range.
“We chose three clones for planting which all tend to produce more tropical flavours. The new wine reflects that very clearly, although there are also some interesting aromas of stone fruit as well as pears and guava on the nose. This richness of flavours are, however, well balanced in the wine which I have allowed to rest on the lees to develop that lovely creamy mouthfeel.
“I felt we needed another white wine to complement the existing range. We have four already - two Sauvignon blancs of which one is a single-vineyard wine, an unwooded Chardonnay and a Gewürtztraminer. For me the Chenin blanc perfectly balances the existing quartet and I believe it will enrich the experience of people who know our wines.”
The will be available in stores from around mid-July and is expected to retail for between R35 and R40 a bottle.
2012 Neethlingshof Chenin Blanc
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