White, Ready, but will keep

2015 Vincent Carême, Terre Brûlée, Chenin Blanc, Swartland

2015 Vincent Carême, Terre Brûlée, Chenin Blanc, Swartland

White | Ready, but will keep | Tania & Vincent Careme | Code:  40973 | 2015 | South Africa > Swartland | Chenin Blanc | Medium Bodied, Dry | 13.0 % alcohol

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The Producer

Tania & Vincent Careme

Tania & Vincent Careme

Vincent Carême and his South African wife, Tania, originally came into our portfolio of growers as a dynamic, up and coming Vouvray producer. Vincent set up his domaine in 1999 and has worked quietly to produce expertly crafted Chenin Blanc. With a wife hailing from South Africa, it was not entirely unexpected when he decided to try his hand at making Chenin in another hemisphere.

He sources fruit from carefully selected old bush-vine vineyards in and around the Paardeberg in the Swartland, grown on granite soils. With each vintage the wines are becoming more complex, achieving a balance between the austerity and restraint of dry Loire Chenin and the greater sense of ripeness and opulence that old-vine Chenin Blanc from South Africa embodies. His first release of a Syrah/Cinsault blend will come on stream with the 2016 vintage release.

The Grape

Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc is an important white grape variety planted in the Anjou-Saumur and Touraine regions of the Loire Valley and the most widely planted varietal grape in South Africa.

In the Loire it produces high quality dry wines in Savenniéres, and luscious sweet, dessert wines in Coteaux du Layon, Bonnezeaux and Quarts de Chaume. In Vouvray and Montlouis it can be dry, medium dry, or sweet, and still or sparkling. Whether dry or sweet, the best Loire Chenin Blancs possess marvellously concentrated rich, honeyed fruit together with refreshingly vibrant acidity. It is Chenin Blanc's high acidity that enable the wines to age so well.

In South Africa Chenin Blanc is easier to grow and is prized for its versatility. It is used as a cheap blending option with Chardonnay, Colombard, and Muscat but also bottled unblended. The best producers keep their yields low and produce impressive mouthfilling wines.

The Region

Swartland

Swartland

After Stellenbosch, t, the west coast district of Swartland (25 miles due north of Cape Town, between the towns of Malmesbury and Piketberg) now ranks as the Cape's most exciting wine-producing district.

Settled initially by nomadic Khoikhoi from Namibia, the Dutch brought trade, vines and unrest to the region in the 17th century.

The British then transformed the area into the Cape's bread basket, viticulture being developed only more recently. This contrasts with an ancient geology which has brought a mix of shale, arenite sandstone and granite soils air-conditioned by the Atlantic Ocean nearby.

Chenin Blanc and Shiraz seem to do best, as exemplified by the wines of Eben Sadie and Mullineux.

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