Vineyard Selection Chenin Blanc 2018, Kleine Zalze
South Africa / Stellenbosch
Andy's Tasting Notes
To get a comparable Loire Chenin Blanc (Vouvray, Savennieres etc) you’d have to pay a good bit more for the same quality as this wine from Kleine Zalze.
Kleine Zalze have been making wine in Stellenbosch since owner Kobus Basson, the current owner, purchased the land in 1990’s. Their talented bunch of wine makers use the top quality fruit from vineyards owned and farmed by the Kleine Zalze viticulture team in this iconic region of South Africa. Part of their philosophy is that all great wines are made in the vineyard. The Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Chenin Blanc is produced using grapes from older vines at an average of 30 years old. The grapes are gently pressed with only the free run juice being used. Then the barrels work their magic. No new oak here, the wood gives a seasoning to the wine; it is certainly not the main ingredient. The finished wine has rapier sharp acidity which is tempered by the softer stone fruit and hints of melon on the pallet. A refreshing wine with a hint of minerality, creaminess after some lees aging and of course the subtle oak characters make this a wine that can be drunk on its own. They say it can age for up to 10 years, I wish I was that patient!
Production notes – The grapes for this wine came from a couple of old (average age: 30 years) Chenin Blanc vineyards around Stellenbosch. Careful canopy management was done to ensure enough sunlight, but protected the grapes against direct sunlight. The average yield of these wonderful old vineyard was 4t/ha. 2018 started off with a bang and everything looked set for a short intense harvest. Although we were at the end of a 3 year drought we had moderate temperatures and small spells off rain that was enough to keep the vineyards happy. This prolonged the ripening period and thus ensured amazing flavour development in these grapes.
The grapes were handpicked early in the morning and immediately crushed into holding tanks. We gave extended (24hours) skin contact to extract all the Chenin flavours to ensure good structure in the final wine. Only the free run juice was used and settled for 1 day before inoculation with selected yeast strains. The juice was racked into barrels for fermentation. No new barrels were used to ensure that unique characters of the specific terroirs were preserved in the wine. After fermentation the wine was aged on the primary lees for another 6 months before being racked out and prepared for bottling.
Price per bottle £15.95 £13.50
Kleine Zalze is a family owned winery situated in the heart of the Cape Winelands. Winemaking has taken place there on a small scale since 1695 but it was in 1996, when Kobus Basson and his family purchased the property, that the modern Kleine Zalze was born. In 1996 the estate’s soils were scientifically mapped, evaluated and replanted according to their specific terroir characteristics and potential. Continuous investment over more than 20 years has seen the winery evolve into one of the most awarded in Stellenbosch.
Food matchWonderfully versatile. Lovely with white meats / shellfish / salads