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Kaapzicht Kliprug

Chenin Blanc 2017

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Alwyn van der Merwe

Director of Investments

Just like investment fads, wine varieties or cultivars and wine styles go through cycles of popularity. A varietal that’s certainly come into its own of late is chenin blanc – South Africa now produces truly world-class chenin from some of the oldest vines in the country. I recently put one of these excellent wines to the test: the Kaapzicht Kliprug Chenin Blanc 2017.

Those close to the industry might recall how fashionable chardonnay was around 20 years ago. Then, some years later, chardonnay had to play second fiddle to sauvignon blanc as white wine drinkers preferred the cleaner, zesty appeal of the latter.

Across most of South Africa’s wine regions, historically there’ve been substantial plantings of chenin blanc – some of these being among the oldest vines in the country. A number of innovative winemakers have realised the potential of this old plant material, and have started to treat the fruit with respect in the cellar. The outcome has been top-class wines in different styles and spanning a wide price range.

Kliprug is an excellent example of wine made with care from older vines. Planted in 1982, these old bush vines yield no more than a mere four tons per hectare. Unirrigated and planted in weathered granite topsoil and crumbly clay sub-soil, the farm workers call it ‘Kliprug’ due to the rockiness of the ground.

The wine presents itself in a straw colour. The nose is complex with yellow peaches, melon and a hint of herbaceousness. These primary flavours repeat on the palate. However, it’s the fleshy weight and silky texture that elevates the wine into a classy drink. There’s enough acidity to add to the structure and fill the mid-palate.

In my experience, chenins with pedigree are likely to reward wine lovers with more complexity if they’re allowed to age for a few years. That said, this wine won’t disappoint consumers with less patience.

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