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Home Winners > Winners 2018 > NEW WORLD: Chenin Blanc

Winner Details

New World: Chenin Blanc

2018 Gold 2        Silver 4                Bronze 2              Commended 12
2017 Gold 2        Silver 7                Bronze 5              Commended 8

Chenin is one of those fabulous grape varieties that is just as happy doing ‘cheap and casual’ as it is doing ‘luxury’; metaphorically, it is equally at home with its feet up on the sofa eating a microwave meal as it is making erudite conversation over Michelin-starred food.

The cheap wines were all you would hope them to be – friendly, accessible and well-priced; move upmarket and you started to get either more restraint or increasingly elegant oak use.

Our tasters found plenty here to get excited about, and the plethora of sub-£10 medals shows that there are wines here that ought to be on the radar of more budget establishments as well as fancier venues.

The only downside? Maybe too many ‘average’ wines this year and not as many medal winners. But those that came through were very good.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘This was a very good flight, right from the entry level to the more expensive, with real Chenin typicity throughout.’ Raphael Thierry, Street XO

‘Quite nice wines to drink, but not necessarily Chenin. There was a lot of winemaking, and not a lot of varietal character.’ Jade Koch, team leader

‘From Chenin I want that freshness and tropical fruit, but I want the texture and creaminess, too, that make them such good food wines. And I found them here, right at the lowest price points, but at the top end too.’ Sue Jones, The Harrow at Little Bedwyn

‘For a seafood restaurant you could find that mineral style here, and those that could be drunk by themselves in a pub, as well as more oaky examples for restaurants or wine bars.’ Davide Dall’Amico, Royal Automobile Club

‘Diverse styles; light and fresh at the cheaper end; then at the top end either oakier, richer styles or fresher, leaner styles. Quality was high across the board, and both styles work.’ Jonathan Kleeman, Four Degree

Award winners

Found 20 wines

New World: Chenin Blanc

Distell, Nederburg, The Anchorman, Chenin Blanc, 2017, Western Cape , South Africa

Gold medal winner

Another South African Chenin on the Gold podium this year, this was ‘ripe, with toasted oak and fresh, creamy apple pie on the nose, with more apple and spice flavours on the palate’, according to team leader Tom Forrest. It also left an impression on Royal Automobile Club’s Davide Dall’Amico, who found it ‘reminded me of a Condrieu, with an unusual style, long with peach, apricot, floral notes of honeysuckle and orange flowers and spice from the oak’.

£11.89 Distell Europe

Spier, Signature, Chenin Blanc, 2017, Western Cape , South Africa

Gold medal winner

A Gold Chenin for Spier, and one of its two medals for the grape, this was characterised by ‘ripe tropical fruits and some apricot, nice acidity and a flavourful palate’, began Edgaras Kazokaitis of Roka Aldwych. Team leader Tom Forrest had praise for its ‘savoury oak, rounded apple and pastry notes, with some blossom and spice towards the finish’, while Coq d’Argent’s Andrés Ituarte was keen on its ‘bright acids, fresh and easy-drinking style and a bit of residual giving it good-value commercial appeal’.

£5.42 Bibendum Wine , Walker & Wodehouse Wines

Imbuko, Inkosi, Chenin Blanc, 2017, Western Cape , South Africa

Silver medal winner

‘Fresh apple and pear aromas, floral notes and a little biscuit character, crisp and refreshing style,’ said Royal Automobile Club’s Davide Dall’Amico. ‘Bright and fresh, friendly and drinkable,’ added team leader Martin Lam.

£4.95 LWC Drinks Ltd (Merchant and Shippers)

Spice Route, Chenin Blanc, 2016, Swartland , South Africa

Silver medal winner

‘Like the refreshing tropical notes, with honey character and gentle apricot on the nose,’ said Edgaras Kazokaitis of Roka Aldwych, finding it ‘complex on the palate with good weight – you feel the fruits and the richness of the body’.

£9.85 Liberty Wines

Spier, 21 Gables, Chenin Blanc, 2015, Coastal Region , South Africa

Silver medal winner

‘Apple tart on the nose, an off-dry wine with good balance and complexity that would work well with Asian cuisine,’ began Street XO’s Raphael Thierry, whereas team leader Jade Koch felt it would be ‘good with crab linguine, with its focused, elegant, autolytic style, and notes of brown bread and ice cream’.

£12.61 Bibendum Wine , Walker & Wodehouse Wines

Stellenrust, 52, Barrel Fermented, Chenin Blanc, 2016, Stellenbosch , South Africa

Silver medal winner

Team leader Lionel Periner found an ‘open nose of ripe citrus, pomelo with floral notes, then a full, creamy-textured palate’, while Coq d’Argent’s Andrés Ituarte noted a ‘heavy diesel quality, but bright with floral notes and a little mint and mineral’.

£12.98 Bibendum Wine

Dorrance, Kama, Chenin Blanc, 2016, Swartland , South Africa

Bronze medal winner

The Harrow at Little Bedwyn’s Sue Jones enjoyed the ‘yin-yang freshness, lively minerals and lychee aromas, quince with white peach and well-integrated, caramel aftertaste’, while team leader Martin Lam found this Chenin ‘highly aromatic, with oak, depth of fruit and good complexity’.

£15.00 Top Selection Ltd

West Cape Howe, Russell Road, Chenin Blanc, 2016, Margaret River, Western Australia , Australia

Bronze medal winner

‘Elegant style with clean fruit of apple and pear with a hint of tropical, all well balanced with acidity and minerality,’ said Manuel Ribeiro of The Bybrook at The Manor House Hotel. ‘Apple fruit with a touch of camomile, balanced and good value,’ thought Street XO’s Raphael Thierry.

£6.25 Frederic Robinson

Kleine Zalze, Vineyard Selection, Chenin Blanc, 2016, Stellenbosch , South Africa

Commended medal winner

Kleine Zalze, Cellar Selection, Bush Vines, Chenin Blanc, 2017, Coastal Region , South Africa

Commended medal winner

Kleine Zalze, Family Reserve, Chenin Blanc, 2016, Stellenbosch , South Africa

Commended medal winner

£15.97 Hatch Mansfield

Perdeberg, The Dry Land Collection, Courageous, Chenin Blanc, 2016, Paarl , South Africa

Commended medal winner

£9.20 Boutinot

Distell, Durbanville Hills, Chenin Blanc, 2017, Durbanville , South Africa

Commended medal winner

Origin Wine, Bantry Bay, Chenin Blanc, 2017, Western Cape , South Africa

Commended medal winner

Asara, Vineyard Collection, Chenin Blanc, 2017, Stellenbosch , South Africa

Commended medal winner

Stellenrust, Chenin Blanc, 2017, Stellenbosch , South Africa

Commended medal winner

£8.54 Bibendum Wine

Asara, Vineyard Collection, Chenin Blanc, 2016, Stellenbosch , South Africa

Commended medal winner

Ken Forrester, Reserve, Chenin Blanc, 2017, Western Cape , South Africa

Commended medal winner

£10.08 Enotria&Coe

Ken Forrester, The FMC, Chenin Blanc, 2016, Western Cape , South Africa

Commended medal winner

£25.25 Enotria&Coe

Babylon's Peak, Chenin Blanc , 2017, Swartland , South Africa

Commended medal winner