I have now been party to a number of vintages which precede this sublime Asara The Vineyard Collection Chenin Blanc 2017. With the exciting winemaking team on the Estate, the wine just gets better year on year as the vines age and Danielle le Roux and her assistants Janette van Lill and Christiaan Nigrini get to know the vineyards which are so professionally tended by Alan Cockcroft and ‘Tokkie’ Bussell and their team.
The rolling Polkadraai Hills to the west of the town of Stellenbosch and at the heart of its wine appellation offer many soil types, aspects and altitudes for Asara’s Vineyards. The effect of the cooling breezes off False Bay in the afternoon, assists the grape to ripen more slowly by ameliorating the summer heat in the vineyards. Linger ripening tine means more flavour in the resulting wine.
The grapes for the Asara Wines are picked in the early hours usually in small lug boxes and taken to the cellar where they are cooled before any skin contact or pressing. By picking their Chenin Blanc at different times during the ideal ripeness window, they are able to bring both the fresh crisp Granny Smiths from the early harvest to the more tropical fruits from the later harvest.
After destalking and crushing, the juice is allowed to settle clear over the following three days. Half the juice goes to previously filled French oak barrels for fermentation, while the other half goes to stainless steel tanks. This component is blended back into the wooded component to bring freshness to the wine. The wine is then prepared for bottling.
It looks like
Bottled in a Burgundy shaped bottle closed with a screw cap. The livery is the classical Asara Vineyard Collection design. In the glass, the wine is gem bright, a pale golden straw.
It smells like
Classical Chenin whiffs of tropical fruits, white flowers, fynbos honey. Granny Smith apples and a lovely line of lime.
It tastes like
From entry it is full and round swelling into the centre palate and lasting into the long tail. Stone fruits, rich ripe green melon. Beautiful zippy acidity and the oaking are woven into the aftertaste.
It’s good with
A Chenin Blanc like this is the perfect all-time wine, the mid-morning refresher, the sundowner, the aperitif. And a superb food wine and great partner to Oriental dishes and soft Kerala Curries. I have always felt chicken is such a great companion to Chenin Blanc. Ina Paarman always has the answer to any cooking question and her Flattie in a Frying Pan is a lovely partner to this wine. Click here for her recipe.
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