10 stellar South African Chenins

10. Momento Chenin Blanc/Verdelho

Frequently mentioned as a rising star in the new generation SA firmament, Marelise Niemann works closely with Peter-Allan Finlayson (Crystallum) and John Seccombe (Thorne & Daughters), making three lovely wines under her own Momento label. Her single white is a Chenin-dominant blend (91% Chenin Blanc, 9% Verdelho) made with a combination of old vine Chenin from Bot River and Swartland blended with grapes from a young Verdelho vineyard in Bot River.

The Verdelho is picked early while flavours are still in the lemon/lime profile. Spontaneous whole berry fermentation lasts for seven days before the juice is pressed into barrels for the last part of the ferment and maturation.

The Chenin blanc grapes are picked while still fresh and whole-bunch pressed. The juice settles for roughly a day and is then fermented and aged in old, 400L French oak barrels (time in oak: 10 months). Some fine lees are added back to the juice in barrel to allow more complex characters to develop.

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