A compatible combination

Another Duncan Savage wine today. This one is made from the great white varietal of South Africa, Chenin Blanc.

In the ancestral home of Chenin Blanc, the Anjou area of the Loire Valley, Chenin makes wines that taste and smell of wet dogs, rotting hay and decaying wood. The occasional one can be quite nice.

It is rarely the totally dry wines of Anjou (and the general area) that do not revolt most drinkers. In the Loire they do far better with sweeter wines.

This is in marked contrast to South Africa. South African Chenin is usually dry and in a dense, profound style. They are more akin to serious Chardonnay than to the Chenins of the Loire.

Again, I apologise that this will have to be a brief review as I am still suffering incredibly in the hand department thanks to carpal tunnel syndrome.

Bottle pictureChenin Blanc 2017, Brookdale

Despite only being 13.5%, this smells like a dense, ripe wine. It has powerful stone fruit aromas and a hint of freshly-cut grass.

I can detect another set of aromas that are quite novel for me on Chenin Blanc; there are shades of toastiness and a vanilla-y roundness. Has this spent part of its upbringing in new oak?

New oak and Chenin Blanc are not common bedfellows. Old oak is a felicitous combination with Chenin, but my experience with oaky Savennieres from Yves Soulez sends a chill and a churn to the pit of my stomach.

Luckily, I can dismiss them as soon as I have got over my acquired aversion – new oak works on this wine!!

The scale and ripeness on the nose can easily support a bit of vanilla on toast; it is as good a combination, although a lot more interesting, than oak on a ripe Chardonnay!

Yes, I think this is a ripe, complex, balanced and stylish nose. I will enjoy tasting this!

It tastes good. There is ripe, dense fruit that is kept lively by a fine, but not excessive, thrill of Chenin acidity running through it.

This zippy, weighty palate has additional structure from its oak treatment. It is in fine balance without overwhelming any of the other flavours of the wine.

And there are a lot of other flavours in this wine and they last and last after swallowing, it has got great length. It is quite delicious.

I am not usually a fan of wines with an obvious oaky flavour, but this one is a goodie. You could easily have it instead of a Chardonnay with food. It would stand up to quite powerful food too.

Here is a wine to have with your Christmas goose!


You can get this from Handford Wines and I thoroughly expect the wine-buyer from there, Greg Sherwood, to leave a comment saying this wine has seen no new oak at all… I will get my coat then…

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