Posts Tagged ‘Chenin Blanc’

The gateway to fine wines in South Africa's, Western Cape.

The gateway to fine wines in South Africa’s, Western Cape.

 

As European winemakers brave freezing temperatures to finish their winter pruning, more than 12,000 kilometers away South African vineyard workers are battling the heat as they prepare for this year’s harvest.

With temperatures rising to as high as 35 degrees Celsius, the first grapes to ripen are the Sauvignon Blanc, then Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, followed by Pinotage, Chenin Blanc and Merlot. The next sweep through the vineyards includes Syrah, Cabernet Franc and finally, as we move into March, Cabernet Sauvignon.

This trio of bold red grape varieties may be last into the cellar, but any aficionado who appreciates brooding, dark oak-aged red wine will tell you, these are definitely worth the wait. Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah may make up only 22% of South Africa’s vineyard plantings but together could represent an entree into the higher echelons of the world’s fine-wine market.

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Chenin Blanc wines are probably quite familiar to most wine consumers.

Since the 11th Century, France’s Loire Valley has always produced lovely Chenin Blancs, such those from Savennieres and Vouvray. The French wines have varied from dry to sweet, and both seem to last decades or more. On the other hand, this is usually not the case for Chenin Blancs from the New World.

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Ken Forrester on Chenin Blanc in South Africa.

Ken Forrester on Chenin Blanc in South Africa.

Join us as we talk with Ken Forrester, of Ken Forrester Wines in South Africa. He’s an excellent spokesperson for the grape, its history, and for the beautiful wines that can be made from it.

LISTEN TO INTERVIEW