10 stellar South African Chenins

4. Radford Dale The Renaissance of Chenin Blanc

‘Renaissance’ is the low intervention-orientated Radford Dale team’s attempt to show the purity of old vine South African Chenin from some of the higher altitude sites in the Helderberg Mountains. The fruit comes from a single block of old, unirrigated bush vine Chenin on the foot slopes of the Helderberg facing south-east across False Bay. The soils are partially decomposed granite with patches of pure quartz near the top. The team describe the 2015 vintage (the current release) as the “best harvest in years”.

Grapes for the Renaissance were whole-bunch pressed, with the free-run juice allowed to settle for two days before being poured into barrel. Wild fermentation in barrel took around 10 weeks, with malo inhibited. Maturation was for nine months in 500L and 228L used Burgundy barrels.

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