Chenin Blanc - The Comeback Kid
07 December 2012 by Tertius Boshoff
Chenin Blanc is quickly establishing itself as a proud flag carrier for South African wine.
There has been a massive upswing in consumer and trade palates for Chenin over the last
year. Its success comes through hard work in both vineyards and wineries, but also through
institutions like the Chenin Blanc Association, headed up by Ina Smith, doing great generic
Ground breaking work has been done in the last decade by
, Martin Meinert,
Eben Sadie and many many more. Chenin Blanc's regionality and uniqueness are embedded
in its diversity – whether it is style, drinkability, finesse or elegance – one thing is sure – it
has a certain 'je ne sais quoi'.
2012 has proved to be a great year for Stellenrust in terms of Chenin Blanc, being blessed as
one of the largest growers of bush vine Chenin Blanc in Stellenbosch. The variations in soil
and age of vineyards contribute largely to the array of styles offered by Stellenrust.
These Bottelary vineyards gave birth to the first ever Olympic wines being served as the
London 2012 Chenin Blanc partnering up with leading UK importer, Bibendum, to make this
The Stellenrust Premium Range Chenin Blanc (ARP R40 per bottle) is a wild yeast fermented
wine from a variation of 25-35 year old vineyards. It walked away with a Veritas gold medal,
a listing under Christian Eedes Top 12 wines for 2012 as well as the Trophy for the Best
White wine on the SAA business class selection for 2013.
Its big brother, the Stellenrust 47 Chenin Blanc 2011 (ARP R120 per bottle), a single vineyard
wine made from vineyards planted in 1964 took the greatest honour of bringing home the
International Trophy for Chenin Blanc at the International Wine & Spirits Competition as
well as the Fairtrade White wine Trophy at the Michelangelo wine awards being awarded a
Double Gold medal.
One thing that is clear about Chenin Blanc, whether or not it comes from the Stellenrust
stable – it offers great consistency. It has the potential to do for South Africa, what
Sauvignon Blanc has done for Nieu Zealand, Shiraz for Australia or Malbec for Argentina -
bearing in mind that not all of it was necessarily good. As Chenin optimists believe the
golden drops from this widely planted variety throughout South Africa, holds the key to
international success, we salute those in vineyard and winery chasing Chenin Blanc’s ‘je ne
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