Home Winners > Winners 2014 > NEW WORLD: Chenin Blanc

Winner Details

New World: Chenin Blanc

2014: Gold 2 Silver 2 Bronze 3 Commended 5
2013: Gold 2 Silver 4 Bronze 1 Commended N/A
Must-list status: 70%
Overall SWA performance 2014: C

There’s been the odd blip down the years, such as a Gold for a Kiwi in 2010 and the odd Silver to Chile or California. But for the most part, this category of the competition has been a procession of medals for South Africa – and this year was no exception. The Saffers took every award going, trailing teams of generally happy tasters in their wake.

‘The best here had golden apple fruit and minerality. Overall it was a very good flight,’ said Riccardo Giacomelli of Bocca di Lupo.

The joy of Chenin is that it scores at pretty much every level. It’s able to do good cheap ‘house pour’ wines that punters understand and like, while further up it can produce wines of serious complexity that might be a hand-sell, but also give the restaurateur options…

If there is a criticism, it’s that it perhaps hasn’t found its feet in the mid-price £8-12 area (the Spier is a notable exception). But to make too much of this would be harsh, given the plethora of genuinely good wines sub-£9 and the adulation for the upmarket FMC. Few areas of this year’s SWA supplied so many well-priced medal winners.

‘At the lower end Chenin is very good with dishes like fish and chips – the equivalent of an extra squeeze of lemon on your food,’ said consultant Patricia Stefanowicz MW. ‘Higher up, when you get a good one, it really over-delivers on value for money – it’s a very useful wine on the list.’

From The Tasting Teams

‘When you compare the best wines with [white] Burgundy they are really delicious, offering so much more at a great price. South Africa is generally quite popular when you put it on the list and sells itself, so the best of these would have no problem in justifying their place at all.’ Annette Scarfe MW, team leader