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Home Winners > Winners 2019 > NEW WORLD: Chenin Blanc

Winner Details

New World: Chenin Blanc

2019 Gold 4        Silver 1                Bronze 1              Commended 5
2018 Gold 2        Silver 4                Bronze 2              Commended 12

Is there a more multi-faceted grape than Chenin Blanc? It’s hard to think of one. You want Sauvignon Blanc-like grassiness? It can do that. Fresh apple and citrus, like AC Bourgogne Blanc? Yup – all over it. Big, rich and oaky like a Meursault? Got that taped as well.

This is a grape that is (both literally and metaphorically) as happy kicking back barefoot in the garden with a salad as it is on the linen-decked tables of a fine dining restaurant.

It’s reasonably consistent too. Once our tasters had got rid of the wines that were a bit ‘meh’ or out of balance in the early stages, they were left with a strong range of medals. Any time you see a ‘laddering’ of Golds in a category it’s a good sign – and we had that here this year, with wines for our list that went from barely above house wine almost to Burgundy prices.

Well done, especially, to Stellenrust, which often does well in this category, and to Kleine Zalze, which picks up hatfuls of medals in this competition every year, and got two Golds here.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘People look to Chenin either for clean-drinking, crisp wines or for much more complex and heavyweight wines. There’s quite a few coming from Chile and Australia, although South Africa is still the king.’ Andre Luis Martins, Cavalry & Guards Club

‘Textbook Chenin is from South Africa, but we didn’t see it here. A lot of these had a bitter finish.’ Sarah Jane Evans MW, team leader

‘You get good Chenin from the New World at the entry level – simple wines, delivering apple and pear, and good concentration for the price.’ Raphael Thierry, Street XO

‘There wasn’t much character at the lower end. It started to be interesting towards the higher end, with richer wine that was heavier and full bodied.’ Matteo Cali, Savoy Grill

‘I was looking for these to say that they were Chenin Blanc, with that richness and texture that you expect. The prices were competitive, which is a point in their favour.’ Roberto Sanchez, Sexy Fish

Award winners

Found 11 wines

New World: Chenin Blanc

MAN Family Wines, Lievlander, Chenin Blanc 2018, Western Cape, South Africa

Gold medal winner

‘Delightfully floral,’ began Suave Wine’s Joseph Lunn, one of the many with praise for this clearly Gold-worthy wine, further describing ‘peaches and dry minerality’. Team leader Martin Lam called it ‘a refreshing wine, with citrus, fresh pear and green apple notes’, while fellow team leader Angela Reddin found ‘lip-smacking, zingy acidity, with some orchard flowers and cooked Bramley apples’, concluding that it was ‘a great food wine, and fantastic for the price’.

£6.75 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Stellenrust, 53, Barrel Fermented, Chenin Blanc 2017, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Gold medal winner

Taking home a well-deserved Gold, this Stellenbosch Chenin had ‘aromatic floral and tropical fruit characteristics’ for Sonal Clare of Purnell’s Restaurant, who went on to describe ‘concentrated fruit on the fleshy, buttery palate, with passion fruit and guava, and a nuttiness, too’. Team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW, meanwhile, found ‘smoky aromatics that lead to a powerful palate bright with citrus, as well as some lime curd sweetness’, and described it as ‘culminating in a tangy, zesty finish’.

£14.36 Bibendum

Kleine Zalze, Family Reserve, Chenin Blanc 2017, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Gold medal winner

‘You need this on your wine list!’ began an enthusiastic Roberto Sanchez of Sexy Fish on encountering this clear candidate for Gold, going on to describe a wine that was ‘intense on the nose, with toasted brioche notes, with a beautiful texture that’s very rich and creamy, with acidity to support it’. Further praise came from Suave Wine’s Joseph Lunn, who spoke highly of ‘fresh minerality, and complexity with great balance’, before describing ‘ripe lemons and limes, and a herbaceous rosemary-stem note, too’.

£15.97 Hatch Mansfield

Kleine Zalze, Vineyard Selection, Chenin Blanc 2018, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Gold medal winner

As this was quite rightly awarded a Gold medal, Carolina W Seibel of Moio Restaurant praised its ‘green freshness and complexity, not to mention good depth of fruit and longevity’, while Cavalry & Guards Club’s Andre Luis Martins was impressed by ‘ripe peach with some white spices, leading to ripe yellow plum on the palate, with a long, refreshing finish’. Harry Ballmann of Wiltons, meanwhile, spoke of ‘depth and balance, with some camomile notes’.

£8.02 Hatch Mansfield

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

Silver medal winner

‘A pronounced, creamy, toasted brioche nose,’ began Savoy Grill’s Matteo Cali, who found this ‘rich and round on the palate, with some white fruits coming through too’. Team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW described ‘a delicate grapefruit character, and some oily notes on the palate, making this a good food match for Asian cuisine’.

£16.24 Top Selection

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

Bronze medal winner

‘Easy drinking and light, with some green notes, as well as some lime and grapefruit, accompanied by some high acidity and some minerality that refreshes your palate,’ said Sexy Fish’s Roberto Sanchez.

£10.08 Enotria&Coe

Spier, 21 Gables, Chenin Blanc 2017, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Commended medal winner

Perdeberg, The Dry Land Collection, Courageous, Chenin Blanc 2017, Paarl, South Africa

Commended medal winner

£9.30 Boutinot

Imbuko, Illusion, Chenin Blanc 2018, Western Cape, South Africa

Commended medal winner

Kleine Zalze, Cellar Selection, Chenin Blanc Bush Vines 2018, Coastal Region, South Africa

Commended medal winner

Asara, Granite Soil, Chenin Blanc 2018, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Commended medal winner

 

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