Chenin Blanc; the grape conjures up thoughts of sweetness on one hand to the many drier versions available on the other. Planted in many regions throughout the world; Vouvray in the Loire Valley in France and more recently in most of the New World wine areas.
For this “Wine-Sum-More” post I’ll be looking at an area of the world where Chenin is planted to the tune of twice as much as in France and is this country’s largest grape varietal – South Africa! The winery, Ken Forrester Vineyards, most of their land in Stellenbosch, South Africa planted with Chenin Blanc and producing predominately 3 lines of Chenin; the Petite Series, Reserve and Icon Ranges, each range of wines showing a style unto itself. For this post, I’m looking at their Icon Series and more specifically The FMC 2014. Made from 100% Chenin Blanc, this is one of a few Chenins to see oak aging, 12 months in new French oak 400L barrels, giving this wine richness and substance. Due to their “repetitive harvesting” there is almost always a certain level of botrytis present as well.
This wine is much more than bright and lively; there is a core of dried stone fruit flavors along with honey, almond and splash of ginger notes. While good acidity, I think that the oak aging has mellowed that to a degree, making this an excellent food wine. The wine ends with a long satisfying finish.
Likely that you’ll see the 2016 or 2017 on shelves currently, don’t let that stop you, it’s a wine that shows consistent quality year after year.