Chenin Blanc ripening on the vine

Zevenwacht Chenin Blanc Barrel Fermented 2014

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The 300-year-old gabled Zevenwacht Manor House and its tranquil setting on the north bank of a man made lake, belie the modern cutting edge winery and working wine farm that lie behind it.

Owned and managed by the Johnson Family, the Estate has a strong commitment to historic and cultural preservation as well as conservation of the surrounding indigenous environment. The home vineyard of 450 hectares is a maritime influenced property, which has cool breezes off False Bay to ameliorate the summer heat in the vineyards. The 33-year-old Chenin Blanc vineyards are high on the hills and face the west with rows planted in a north south direction.

Jacques Viljoen, the Zevenwacht Winemaker received the grapes in three separate pickings giving him luscious, gradually ripened fruit with a variety of flavours. Fruit that was exposed to direct sunlight first, and then fruit that was hanging partially in the sun and finally shaded fruit from inside the canopy.

To express the ripe tropical fruit character of the Chenin Blanc, the partially shaded fruit (20% of the blend) was tank fermented at a cool fermentation temperature, hovering around 14° C. The remaining 80% was barrel fermented and then aged for further 8 months on the lees which add to the complexity and rich mouth feel of the wine. After its time in the French oak barrels, the wine was blended with the tank component and prepared for bottling.

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Michael Olivier writes about wine, food and lifestyle and introduces you to his website partners and their products.

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