Nice little gift received from Tertius Boshoff, Owner of Stellenrust Wine Estate, one of the largest family owned wine businesses in the Cape. Straight into the fridge and as a pre-celebration drop for International Chenin Blanc Day on Saturday 20th June.
Grapes for the Stellenrust 54 Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2018 are harvested from a 54-year-old single vineyard of Chenin Blanc planted in ironstone soils on the slopes of the Bottelary Hills, hence the number on the front of the bottle referring to age of the vines in the year the wine was made. Certainly, one of the older vineyards planted to Chenin Blanc, the most planted of wine grapes in South Africa. Careful attention paid to every grape coming into the cellar was necessary in the dry and arid 2018 vintage. Even though warmer temperatures than normal occurred during the harvest, hanging time was in line with other vintages. Botrytis development also took some time but did eventually occur after mid-March drizzles. The juice after pressing, took 8 months to finish fermentation and the wine remained on the lees for a further month. Maturation took place in oak barrels, 90% of them French and the balance Hungarian. The wine was then prepared for bottling. The wine has had 6 5-star ratings ins Platter’s.
From a Burgundy shaped bottle closed with natural cork. The label is elegant and descriptive with a large 54 to indicate the age of the vineyard at harvesting time. A venerable age for a South African Vineyard. In the glass, the wine is wheaten in colour, with flashes of gold. The aromas are intermingled with the palate, which has a brilliant line of acidity running through it from entry to the long aftertaste. All the usual Chenin suspects in excess. Wonderful whiffs of Golden Delicious Apples, fynbos honey and white tropical flowers. The palate is rich and so generous. The fabulous fruit is supported by the oak and its concomitant spice and vanilla. Bright fruit in the ending. A truly, truly impressive expression of this fine grape. Eminently drinkable now, even on a freezing Highveld Winter’s Day, but, if you can, do cool cellar it for a couple of years.
The Stellenrust 54 Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2018 is serious wine for well prepared food. There is just so much to it. The ideal dish for this wine is Mussels with Chilli, Ginger and Lemongrass from The Little Viet Kitchen by Thuy Diem Pham. CLICK HERE to see her recipe. Photography by the brilliant David Loftus. The book is published by Bloomsbury who kindly send me a recipe from one of their cookery books each week.
Read more about Stellenrust Wine Estate – CLICK HERE