Imbued with the South African sun, Chenin Blanc presents nowhere on earth quite like it does on the tip of Africa. At a latitude of 35-degrees, light rains down with an omnipresent intensity, the accompanying heat is tempered by the winds of two oceans that straddle the Cape, cooling and condensing liquid sunlight in the grapes that grow here. This is what sets South Africa’s Chenin apart – the wines have a ripeness of fruit and complexity of flavour, balanced with lancing, cleansing acidities. South Africa makes Chenins of light.
We haven’t always revered Chenin quite as we do now. It’s our most widely planted cultivar, and in fact, we have the most plantings of any wine region in the world. After practically centuries of being a workhorse varietal—as a blending component in bulk wines or as a base for brandy—producers have seen the light and are making increasingly fine wines, with flavours that range from fresh and fruity to wooded, sparkling and sweet. Chenin also lends itself to a blending partner with a number of varietals. This versatility translates into a diverse number of styles.
Chenin’s long history in South Africa’s vineyards also means we have a large amount of old vines too; these vineyards are making concentrated, expressive wines—that will give any fine wine in the world a run for its money.