Vineyard: At the foot of Bothmaskop in Jonkershoek, Stellenbosch
Grapes: Chenin Blanc (Local synonym: Steen)
Soils: Decomposed granite
Ageing Potential: 15 – 20 years
Average Yield: 20 hl/ha
We have been working with grapes off this decomposed granite vineyard (much of it planted in the 1920s) at the foot of Bothmaskop Mountain in Stellenbosch’s Jonker- shoek Valley since 2006.
The mere one hectare of vines belonging to Mrs Kirsten and her family is recognised as the oldest Chenin Blanc in South Africa. The vineyard is slowly but surely dying, and continuing work is needed to prolong its life.
Because of our greater experience with vinifying these grapes, more understanding of the vineyard has been gained – it is clear, for example, that the juice from its grapes is very prone to oxidation. The structural integrity of the wine, however, with its brilliant acidity, suggests that it is likely to age particularly well.
The Mev. Kirsten wine is vinified slightly differently from the other whites, with an initial carbonic maceration, and the fermentation to follow.
Harvesting dates are now earlier, to retain even more of the vineyard’s unique acidity – this has slightly reduced its oxidation potential and revealed more bright fruit, without losing structure and firmness.
This wine is very different from the Chenin off Skurfberg that forms part of the Old Vine Series – together they present a fine exposition of the many dimensions of this great variety.
Over the past 3 years we have invested in this vineyard on a big scale and it is starting to show on so many levels – not only in the vines and in the chemistry of the grapes, but in every aspect. The wine has gained elegance, carried by immense texture, density and power. Having produced this wine over the past 14 years the only thing to be said is that this vintage may very well rival 2015 and may possibly be the best bottling to date. Buying this wine is but one aspect of the transaction. The greatest requirement here is patience.
Please give this wine time.
Unfined and unfiltered – decanting recommended.
“There’s only one foudre of this celebrated Chenin Blanc in 2019, alas, sourced from the oldest vineyard of the variety in the Cape. Now made in a more reductive, focused style than was the case in the early vintages, this has peach and pear fruit, subtle wood, effortless concentration, stony tension and palate length. Give it time to open up in the glass. Drink 2022-29.”
Tim Atkin, 97 points