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Wines of South Africa Chenin Blanc Tasting

Live stream, photo by Andy Neumeier

Live stream, photo by Andy Neumeier

On Friday June 17th,  we participated in tasting six Chenin Blancs from different producers from South Africa. Winemaking has taken place in South Africa for close to four centuries. One of the most widely planted grapes is Chenin Blanc. This grape is used to make a variety of different wines.

Accompanying our tasting was a live streaming broadcast hosted by Jim Clarke, a sommelier and a wine ambassador for Wines of South Africa, WOSA. Jim talked about the wines and answered posted questions. Winemakers in South Africa chimed in with posting to the broadcast’s stream that automatically posted to Twitter.

Our group started the wines a bit earlier not wanting to pass up available wines for a meal. We paired two of the wines with baked salmon and baked vegetables. Both wines painted a background for the food and their acidity helped cleanse the palate.

During these events, I like to write haikus rather than traditional wine notes. Jim mentioned the haiku format a couple times. For the wines tasted, here are the haikus.

2013 Raats Old Vine Chenin Blanc haiku:

Old Vine Chenin Blanc
Smooth mouthfeel and full-bodied
Peaches, caramel.

Chenin Blanc pairs with many different foods.

Chenin Blanc pairs with many different foods.

2015 Bellingham Old Orchard Chenin Blanc haiku:

Old orchard Chenin,
Stone fruit, minerality
Lively in the mouth.

2014 River’s End Chenin Blanc haiku:

River’s End Chenin
Emphasis on juicy pears
Velvet for seafood.

2015 Terre Brûlée Le Blanc haiku:

Aftertaste lingers
Honeysuckle highlighting
Citrus enlivens.

2015 Solms-Delta, Chenin Blanc haiku:

Solms-Delta, Chenin
Ripe juicy pears and sweetness
With or without food.

2014 Beaumont Hope Marguerite Chenin Blanc haiku:

Apricots surround
From aroma to finish.
Rocking chair on porch.

Of course, everyone in our group had their favorites. My two favorites were the 2015 Terre Brûlée Le Blanc and the 2014 Beaumont Hope Marguerite Chenin Blanc. I thought that both of these wines were a bit more complex and very food friendly. All of the wines are wonderful to pair with a rocking chair on a porch especially during the summertime. These Chenin Blancs are available throughout the United States; however, you may need to do some hunting. They also have great price points ranging from about $10 to less than $25. Most were priced in the mid-teens.

If you are looking for refreshing white wines for summer gatherings, consider Chenin Blancs from South Africa.


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