Yesterday I attended the Chenin Blanc Showcase at the Cape Grace Hotel, a presentation of 44 wines segmented into six categories.
We were welcomed with a glass of Ken Forester Sparklehorse MCC as well as De Morgenzon Chenin Blanc MCC NV, and oysters. A big surprise was to be welcomed by Tatiana Marcetteau, previously of the Taj Cape Town, and now Food & Beverage Manger at the Cape Grace; as well as Josh Crowe, formerly of Greenhouse, who is the new Restaurant Manager.
Sebastian Beaumont represented Chenin Blanc Association chairman Ken Forrester, who is traveling, and he welcomed Chenin Blanc producers as well as writers. He said that an increasing number of sparkling Chenin Blanc wines are coming. He thanked Ina Smith, who runs the Chenin Blanc Association, as well as Nicolette Waterford, who manages the public relations for the varietal. He also thanked sponsor Standard Bank.
In the venue 44 Chenin Blancs from 40 producers were displayed on six tables, segmented by a variety of styles. Sebastian told us that Chenin Blanc sales in our country have grown by 47% in the past five years, leading to a round of applause. He shared that he could not believe seeing a sign in New York, where he found Chenin being sold, stating ‘Chenin is sunshine‘. Locally and internationally Chenin Blanc is proudly seen as a wine category in its own right on wine lists, and is no longer lumped into an ‘Other’ category. He praised the ‘hip and happening’ Cape Town city centre, with its First Thursdays, and its Tuning the Vine, allowing wines generally to engage with new consumers.
The annual Chenin Blanc Challenge will be held again this year, and entries close on 29 June, it was announced. The winning ten Chenin Blancs will receive R20000 each, to be invested in a social community project linked to their wine estate.
The Chenin Blancs were segmented as follows by style:
# Fresh and Fruity/Sur Lie 2016/2015: De Wet Cellar Chenin Blanc 2016, Lutzville Chenin Blanc 2016, Welgemeend Chenin Blanc 2015, Babylonstoren Chenin Blanc 2016, Neethlingshof Chenin Blanc 2015, Stellenrust Chenin Blanc 2016, Earthbound Organic Chenin Blanc 2015, Raats Original Chenin Blanc 2015, Fledge & Co Klipspringer Chenin Blanc 2015, Perdeberg ‘The Dry Lane Collection’ Chenin Blanc 2015, and Mooiplaas Bush Vine Chenin Blanc 2015.
# Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2015: Leopard’s Leap Culinaria Chenin Blanc 2015, Villiera Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2015, Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Chenin Blanc 2015, Joostenberg ‘Die Agteros’ Chenin Blanc 2015, Tierhoek Chenin Blanc 2015, Beaumont Hope Marguerite 2015, Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Chenin Blanc 2015, and De Morgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc 2015.
# Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2014/2015: Deetlefs Estate Chenin Blanc, Delaire Graff Swartland Reserve Chenin Blanc 2015, Opstal Carl Everson Chenin Blanc 2015, Vinum Africa Chenin Blanc 2015, Delheim Wild Ferment Chenin Blanc 2014, Bergsig Reserve Chenin Blanc 2014, Mulderbosch SV Chenin Blanc A Block 2014, and Jean Daneel Directors Signature Chenin Blanc 2014.
# Older Vintages/Rich and Ripe/Barrel Fermented: Bosman Optenhorst Chenin Blanc 2013, Cederberg Five Generations Chenin Blanc 2013, Uitkyk Chenin Blanc 2013, Spioenkop Wines ‘1900’ Chenin Blanc 2013, Ken Forrester ‘The FMC’ Chenin Blanc 2013, KWV ‘The Mentors’ Chenin Blanc 2012, Rijk’s Riesling Chenin Blanc 2011, and Rudera Robusto Chenin Blanc 2008.
# Chenin Blanc Blends: Bradgate Chenin Blanc/Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Riebeek Cellars Shortstreet CGV 2015, B Vintners Vine ‘Haarlem to Hope’ 2015, Yardstick Wines Marvelous Yellow 2015, Nederburg The Anchorman Chenin Blanc/Grenache Blanc 2015, and Adoro Wines Naudé White Blend 2010.
# Chenin Blanc Dessert Wines: Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc Noble Late Harvest ‘T’ 2012, Radford Dale Vine Dried Chenin Blanc 2013, and Tierhoek Chenin Blanc Straw Wine NV.
Canapés of smoked ostrich, mussels, salmon on rösti, corn chowder with scallops and topped with popcorn, and Arancini risotto balls were offered. An amazing display of dessert treats included poppy seed crusted macarons, apple Tarte Tatin, and Dulcey panna cotta with pineapple marmalade, almond streussel, pineapple jelly, and a white chocolate shard.
Disclosure: we received a bottle of Delaire Graff Swartland Reserve Chenin Blanc 2015 with our media pack.
Chenin Blanc Association, www.chenin.co.za Twitter:@CheninBlancAsso
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whalecottage.com/blog Tel 082 55 11 323 Twitter: @WhaleCottage Facebook: click here Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein