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kleine zalze chenin blanc

Two different wines can’t really be considered a representative sample. More a fun exercise to explore how differing wines from Up Top and Down Under compare (the theme for this month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday). Having just returned from South Africa a comparison of one the countries local treasures – Chenin Blanc – with an ‘original’ from the Loire seemed the most apt.
All the major grape varieties are grown in South Africa. The choice could have encompassed Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah/Shiraz, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or a Rhone-style red blend, all of top-international quality. (Only Merlot proved disappointing during my vino samplings on the tour.)

This South African Chenin was one of the first wines poured during my trip. A long, long lunch at Terroir at the Kleine Zalze estate was a superb introduction to the foods and wines of the country. I’ve posted a few pictures of the meal over on Spittoon Extra…

The Kleine Zalze Chenin Blanc 2008 is listed in the UK by Waitrose, as a comparison a similarly priced Loire Chenin was plucked from the same supermarkets shelves, a Domaine du Vieux Vauvert Vouvray Chenin Blanc 2007.

As mentioned in a previous post the wines of South Africa are often described as being a stylistic amalgam of the New World and the Old so the aim is to spot any obvious differences…



White Wine Review/Tasting NoteWine Tasting Note: Kleine Zalze Bush Vine Chenin Blanc, 2008, Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Stockist: Waitrose Price: £5.99 [More: Adegga / Snooth]
A lively fresh, full, mouthful. Dry – a little spritz noticable – and plenty of apple and pear flavours. Good texture, combining as expected, ripe New World fruit with a textural feel. I love the gravelly, tropical-fruit- tinged finish – guava, mango et al. For the price, excellent and now the ‘house wine’ with a couple of bottles stashed away in the fridge for visitors… Alcohol 14%.
Scribblings Rating – 90/100 [4 out of 5]



White Wine Review/Tasting NoteWine Tasting Note: Domaine du Vieux Vauvert Vouvray, 2007, Loire, France .
Stockist: Waitrose Price: £6.49 [More: Adegga / Snooth]
First sampled a few months back; my opinion hasn’t changed. Marked as Medium-dry, this sweetness, I feel, masks any minerality in palate leaving a nice, if unexciting, roundness. A little more interesting on he finish with a surge of pear flavours and acidity cutting the sweetness. Alcohol 11.5%.
Scribblings Rating – 82/100 [2.75 out of 5]

The expansive range of wines made from Chenin – ranging from bone dry through to sweet – is one of the fascinatiions for South Africa’s wine makers. Several mentioned its versatility, the deight they have in experimenting with it and their on-going search for the best planting locations. Certainly several feel it has more potential for greatness than the other ‘treasure’ Pinotage.


vieux vauvrey vouvray

1 Comment »

  1. Dylan says:

    Chenin blanc seems to complement the adventuring winemaker’s spirit. It must be so exciting to have such a versatile grape to experiment into unknown territory for unexpected results–just an endless sense of exploration.

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