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Home Winners > Winners 2016 > NEW WORLD: Chenin Blanc

Winner Details

New World: Chenin Blanc

2016 Gold: 2 Silver: 5 Bronze: 3 Commended: 5
2015 Gold: 2 Silver: 4 Bronze: 5 Commended: 3

South Africa has taken a stranglehold on this variety and continues to produce plenty of easy, palate-friendly offerings at commercially useful prices. Half our medal winners here were under £10, which is good to see.

Our tasters generally liked the more ambitious oaked versions, but had concerns over how easy they would be to sell to a public used to the typical Juicy Fruit style of wine. Moving up through the price bands, several tasters felt that a bit more of Chenin’s zip and freshness might not go amiss.

Congratulations to Kleine Zalze, who picked up a Gold for the second year on the trot, and to Stellenrust, who managed to upgrade on last year’s Silver with a seriously textured barrel-fermented offering.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘Customers know Chenin at a commercial level – it is up to us to take it up a level to oaked styles, which I think is the way forward.’ Zigmars Grinbergs, Vinoteca

‘I am not the biggest fan of Chenin Blanc. I also don’t see it as a big commercial imperative.’ James Hocking, The Vineyard Group

‘These are very food-friendly wines, Chenin doesn’t clash with much.’ Annette Scarfe MW, team leader

‘Definitely an improvement from a few years ago.’ Tobias Brauweiler MS, Hakkasan Group

‘It is a difficult grape as consumers aren’t familiar with it. For New World Chenin Blanc to have a place, it needs to deliver something special.’ Tanguy Martin, La Trompette

‘I was hoping for more purity of fruit. A lot were super-ripe, off-dry and getting fruity, very ripe.’ Laure Patry, Social Wine & Tapas
‘Some interesting wines, I’m going to look at taking more on. Really nice.’ Andrea Domenicucci, Whatley Manor

“I want purity: golden apples with steeliness, not milky bananas and New World Chardonnay fakes.” Devon Pryor, Blandford Comptoir

Award winners

Found 15 wines

New World: Chenin Blanc

Stellenrust, 48, Barrel Fermented, Chenin Blanc, 2014, Stellenbosch , South Africa

Gold medal winner

Tantalising texture and freshness hands Stellenrust Gold. Vinoteca's Zigmars Grinbergs noted 'apple strudel and honey characters', finding it 'complex for the money', while team leader Martin Lam highlighted the 'golden colour, good, creamy oak and lees stirring', and Hawksmoor Air Street's Rossano Antonelli picks out 'cinnamon, honeysuckle and toasted seeds' and the 'round and fresh' palate.

£12.76 Bibendum Wine

Kleine Zalze, Cleefs, Classic Collection, Chenin Blanc, 2015, Coastal Region , South Africa

Gold medal winner

South Africa's Chenin Blanc specialist Kleine Zalze returns to the Gold podium, this time with the 'great value' Cleefs Classic Collection. 'The nose opens with notes of zingy, citrus peel, green apple and pears, and some white flowers,' said Hawksmoor Air Street's Rossano Antonelli, continuing: 'With grapefruit and orchard fruit on the palate, there's very good tension, and a good finish,' and team leader Angela Redding picking out a 'bracing citrus and crab apple plate, a superb but balanced acidity'.

£5.16 Hatch Mansfield

Nederburg, The Manor, Chenin Blanc, 2015, Western Cape , South Africa

Silver medal winner

'Lively, clean and fruity wine, ideal by the glass or with lighter dishes, salads, some fish or simple chicken,' suggested Richard Brooks of Caroline Catering. 'Lovely, attractive clean apple fruit,' added team leader Annette Scarfe MW.

£6.60 Matthew Clark

Kleine Zalze, Vineyard Selection, Chenin Blanc, 2015, Stellenbosch , South Africa

Silver medal winner

'Lime and lemon, apple skin fresh and crisp on the nose, with ripe fruit and a hint of spice on the palate,' said the Hakkasan Group's Tobias Brauweiler MS, while team leader Annette Scarfe MW enjoyed its 'delicate use of oak and lovely lees work'.

£7.04 Hatch Mansfield

Ken Forrester, Reserve, Chenin Blanc, 2015, Stellenbosch , South Africa

Silver medal winner

Team leader Annette Scarfe MW found this wine's 'delicate spritz and fresh, vibrant acidity' well balanced and attractive, while Bread Street Kitchen's Stefano Pirondi noted its 'good entrance, creamy full body and pleasantly long finish'.

£8.76 Enotria&Coe

Ken Forrester, The FMC, Chenin Blanc, 2013, Stellenbosch , South Africa

Silver medal winner

While Emilie Sagot of The Sign of the Don highlighted its 'apricot and peach fruit and good balance', James Hocking of The Vineyard Group said: 'Undoubtedly very good, with great length, balance and concentration. Spicy and buttery, viscous in texture.'

£19.26 Enotria&Coe

Swartland Winery, Bush Vine, Chenin Blanc, 2014, Western Cape , South Africa

Silver medal winner

The judges highlighted fruit notes of pineapple, stone fruit, crab apple and honeysuckle, with Ned Neville-Rolfe of Vinoteca King's Cross adding: 'Round and ripe in style, perhaps low in acidity but finished with good length.'

£10.25 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

De Trafford, Chenin Blanc, 2014, Stellenbosch , South Africa

Bronze medal winner

'Sophisticated and delicious,' began team leader Annette Scarfe MW, with Tobias Brauweiler MS of the Hakkasan Group adding: 'Ripe, rich aromas of apple, pear and floral notes followed by a creamy, full-bodied palate with spice notes and a long finish.'

£16.98 Bibendum Wine

Kleine Zalze, Family Reserve, Chenin Blanc, 2014, Stellenbosch , South Africa

Bronze medal winner

Team leader Annette Scarfe MW highlighted its 'lovely, creamy malolactic fermentation in the blend and ripe fruit' ,making it a 'textured, long and delicious wine', while Richard Brooks of Caroline Catering said simply: 'Rich and ripe, lots of intense fruit.'

£12.80 Hatch Mansfield

Kanu, KCB, Chenin Blanc, 2014, Stellenbosch , South Africa

Bronze medal winner

The nose was all about 'minerals, wet stone and flinty savoury notes' for Devon Pryor of Blandford Comptoir, while the palate showed 'golden apples, touches of honey and more minerals'. 'Long-lasting and slightly oxidised, but that just adds to the complexity,' added Laure Patry of Social Wine & Tapas.

£9.55 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Fairview , Chenin Blanc, 2015, Darling , South Africa

Commended medal winner

£7.60 Liberty Wines

Nederburg , Heritage Heroes, The Anchorman, Chenin Blanc , 2014, Western Cape , South Africa

Commended medal winner

£11.54 Matthew Clark

Stellenbosch Vineyards , Credo, Chenin Blanc, 2010, Stellenbosch , South Africa

Commended medal winner

£11.81 Enotria&Coe

Kleine Zalze , Cellar Selection, Bush Vines, Chenin Blanc, 2015, Coastal Region , South Africa

Commended medal winner

Olifantsberg , Chenin Blanc, 2014, Western Cape , South Africa

Commended medal winner