|If you’ve never had Chenin Blanc from South Africa you’ve likely wandered in here by mistake, but never mind. You may not have had a Chenin Blanc from South Africa which is quite like this, so get comfortable and I’ll pour you a glass.|
The cultivar has enjoyed something of a renaissance in the past half decade, I like to describe it as having done a reverse New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. It used to often be the cheapest or only (or both) option from South Africa on pub wine lists or an easy “go to” for weary travellers buying wine in petrol stations.
It was mass produced and shipped in plastic tanks to be unceremoniously bottled in industrial portside factories in Bristol or Manchester. A decent, or even half decent, expression was rarely heard of. Oh, how that’s changed…
Nowadays you can hardly walk down the street without splashing through a puddle of serious Chenin Blanc, whether it be from (the) accidentally fashionable Swartland, an Old Vines certified single vineyard in Paarl or as part of a white field blend from a tiny pocket of land in Stellenbosch.
Axle is Natte Valleij winemaker Alex Milner’s solo project which burst onto the scene in late 2018 and wasted no time in securing the coveted Platter Five Star in its maiden vintage, followed by scores of 17 & 17.5 for the 2018 and 2019 vintages from Tamlyn Currin, writing for Jancis Robinson.
The wine is mealy and sumptuous without being heavy, saline without being salty and utterly seductive with a perfume of fleshy stone fruits such as peach, yellow plum and nectarine underpinned by notes of cold jasmine infused tea, kiwi skin and old sheepskin… in a good way, obviously.
This wine is clearly on an upward trajectory, getting better with each new vintage, and what’s more is it is still available for under £20 a bottle whilst its peers often command double that without anywhere near the charm.
Almost half our allocation has already been secured by a savvy trade customer, so don’t wait to get your hands on a bottle or two – Just click the link below…