What makes Chenin Blanc so special? It’s no secret that South African Chenin Blanc wines are among the world’s finest and where wine makers are producing Chenin Blanc wines of increasingly remarkable quality.
Even though France may be the birthplace of Chenin Blanc, this variety is South Africa’s most widely planted varietal. Winemakers are producing it in a wide range of styles – from sparkling wines to even dessert wines. It is also known as “Steen” and was previously mostly grown as the base material for brandy.
In the heart of our most famous wine region Stellenbosch, situated on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountain is where you would fine Ken Forrester Wines – Home of Chenin Blanc.
Ken Forrester himself needs no introduction when it comes to Chenin Blanc as he is widely known as Mr. Chenin. He collaborated with winemaker, Martin Meinert, to produce world class Chenin Blanc wines that received numerous awards and accolades.
As you enter the wine farm you are greeted with vineyards and a lane of trees with a Cape Dutch building beautifully decorated with plants and a water feature to set the ambiance.
There are different options of wine tasting available from R60 for 5 wines. I opted to taste the white wines and to taste the different style of Chenin Blanc.
KEN FORRESTER – SAUVIGNON BLANC RESERVE 2016
This wine shows lovely complexity with mix of tangy grassy notes, fig leaf, and peach and nectarine nuances. Brisk acidity with minerality on the palate which is typical of the long hang time in our cool region.
The Forrester family bought the Scholtzenhof farm in 1993, restored the 17th century homestead and replanted vines. A year later the Ken Forrester label produced its first wines.
The Scholtzenhof farm is one of the oldest farms in the Cape and was first granted to soldier Frederick Botha who completed his time and was banished to Mauritius with his mistress. He was the first one to plant vines on the farm.
KEN FORRESTER – OLD VINE RESERVE CHENIN BLANC 2017
Golden hued and full bodied, with melon and spicy baked apple aromas. Layered, with mineral notes enhanced by honeycomb and caramel flavours from lees contact.
This wine is a great example of the harmonious balance which can be achieved between fruit and delicate oak/vanilla flavours, as they combine to form complex, soft flavours with sufficient body to enhance even spicy and full flavoured meals.
FIJNDRAAI VAN COLLER FAMILY RESERVE – ROUSSANNE / CHENIN / VIOGNIER 2016
While the terroir expresses itself through the delicate bouquet of floral notes and citrus aromas, the unique blend of this boutique wine seduces the palate with every indulging sip.
The crisp, clean acidity with its tender peach and apricot whispers leaves a lush lingering finish. Perfect for any occasion!
This wine was made by Ken Forrester and can be purchased at Ken Forrester Wines.
KEN FORRESTER ~ THE FMC 2015
The FMC from Ken Forrester showcases an exquisite expression of well-loved varietal characteristics. Chenin Blanc berries were hand-harvested from well-established bush vines, picked at full maturity and ripeness to ensure a pure and intense expression of fruit.
The palate displays a beautifully layered effect of vanilla, honey and dried apricot profiles that perform with luxurious intensity, imparting the wine with a sensational mouth feel.
The FMC from Ken Forrester Vineyards is an impeccable example of an iconic South African Chenin Blanc that will reach an elevated expression of character and complexity with cellaring. A project between Ken Forrester and winemaker, Martin Meinert – hence the name label on the bottle as FMC stands for Forrester Meinert Chenin.
KEN FORRESTER ~ DIRTY LITTLE SECRET 2015
Notes of green apple, lemon-lime citrus, yellow plum and underripe mango. Given those tight, bright aromas, it’s surprising to encounter the medium-weight, round mouthfeel, with low acidity and ripe tones of guava and white grapefruit.
A Chenin Blanc bushvine vineyard planted in 1965 in Piekenierskloof was used to produce this wine. The wine was naturally fermented with extended skin contact. No cold stabilization, filtering or fining took place. The wine rested in old 400L French oak barrels for 5 months to naturally clarify & stabilize. The wine is crystal clear, slightly golden with a lime green rim. Well it’s unfiltered, unfined just a Dirty Little Secret – naturally!
Next time if you are out and about in Stellenbosch, then why not pop in at Ken Forrester for a wine tasting. If you feel peckish afterwards, 96 Winery Road restaurant is adjacent to the farm and is also owned by Ken Forrester and his brother, serving South African dishes and flavours using organic ingredients.