Swartland Chenin blanc needs no introduction, having long assumed its place among the world’s key expressions of Chenin blanc. Langkloof, where we source our grapes for this wine is an old bush vine Chenin blanc vineyard planted on the granite slopes of the Paardeberg that belongs to the Roussouw family.
An enormous amount of work went into the vineyard during the 2016-2017 growing season to ensure that the vineyard could carry a healthy and balanced crop. Picking was done with a clear eye on the acidity of the crop which can fall away dramatically during the harvest due to low water reserves in the soil.
This is a very clear and bright expression of Chenin blanc, with white currents, wax, sweet herbs and hay on the nose. The palate is poised and fresh with great concentration and “drive” from the vineyard. There are notes of subtle mineral tones, fennel bulb and nut flesh.
Chenin blanc – Swartland – 38 year old vineyard on weathered granite
Alcohol – 12.8%; Residual sugar – 1.7 g/L; Total acidity – 6.4 g/L; pH 3.27
About the wine
The 2017 vintage saw the Western Cape very much in the grip of a long drought, with very little moisture reserves in the soils. The Paardeberg is challenging in the best of years, and we had to pay a lot of attention to ensure that we could harvest ripe, healthy grapes with sufficient acidity. Our key focus during harvest is picking times. If we can pick grapes at the right time, we can achieve tension and ripeness in the wine without the need to manipulate and “dress-up” the wines.
Chenin blanc on granite is something that we have worked with for all the years that we have been making our Thorne and Daughters wines, and this is our first single vineyard bottling. The delicacy and concentration of the Langkloof Chenin blanc in 2017 made for a very compelling wine and we felt that it really deserved its own bottling.
As with all of our wines, the winemaking is incredibly simple, as we have no desire to stand between the vineyard and its expression as a wine in the glass. The grapes are whole-bunch pressed in an old basket press and there are no additions of sulphur dioxide made on the juice. A rough settling follows pressing after which the wines undergo natural alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in old oak barrels. We add some sulphur dioxide late in the winter, and then again at bottling, keeping the level of sulphur dioxide as low as possible.
Platter’s: Ethereal fragrant elegance & charm on 2017, & a slightly austere, withdrawn delicacy. A fresh, pure-fruited wine, its delights to be treasured more than most more effusive offerings. Old oak adds subtle breadth; wholebunch ferment adds a phenolic grip. ****(*)
Thorne & Daughters Cat’s Cradle Chenin Blanc 2017 Swartland, South Africa
This is from a vineyard in the Paardeberg planted in 1979. Bush vine Chenin on granite soils. It’s taut and mineral with lovely spiciness, some pear fruit, and good acidity. There’s a lovely fine-grained mouthfeel to this wine. Superb. 94/100 Jamie Goode
Cat’s Cradle 2017
[quote]New. From a Paardeberg Chenin Blanc vineyard planted in the late 1970s. Pear, white peach and citrus plus a little hay on the nose. The palate shows excellent fruit concentration and driving acidity before a very persistent, saline finish. Strikingly clean and poised. How many more examples of top-end Chenin can the market bear? Who cares when they’re as good as this? Alcohol: 13%. Editor’s rating: 95/100. [/quote]