4 ½ Stars 2023 Platter’s South African Wine Guide
Peach & citrus vibrancy on 21 (91 pts), fermented & aged in combo seasoned barrels & amphora, 7 months. Textured, fresh & lively, hint of sweetness countered by acidity.
91 pts Tim Atkin MW 2022
“Big volumes, heritage vineyards and all barrel-fermented” is RJ Botha’s description of this eminently dependable Chenin Blanc. Lightly wooded, off-dry and concentrated, it combines flavours of honey, passion fruit and yellow apple with gentle aromatic spices. 2022-26
The grapes for this wine comes from selected “Bush Vine” vineyards in Stellenbosch. The average age of these vines are 30 years and most of them are planted on decomposed granite soils. Owing to the nature of bush vines, careful canopy management was exercised so that no bunches were exposed to excessive sunlight and an even ripening of the grapes. For a change we had normal winter in 2020. Cold and very wet and even a little bit of snow on the mountains. Summer started a bit later than normal and thus the ripening was delayed by about 10 days. We had a very moderate but dry summer, exactly what we want for quality wine production.
Kleine Zalze concluded the 2021 harvest by mid-April. The wine is all safely in the winery and we are very happy with the vintage and extremely excited at this early stage about the exceptional wines that will flow from the 2021 crop. Excellent winter rains and late rains into spring ensured good moisture content in the soil with the onset of the growing season. The prolonged cool spring weather meant that bud burst was about two weeks later than normal and slightly uneven. The subsequent moderate to cool weather during flowering and berry set continued into the rest of the growing season. The much cooler than normal growing season meant that we started harvest two weeks later than normal. The cool weather also persisted through the harvest period leading to not only exceptional acidity in the grapes and wine but the best acid balance ever seen in our grapes and wine. The harvest was briefly interrupted by a fairly large rain event, of nearly 60mm, early in March. This was initially a cause for some concern. However, moderate and dry weather following the rain actually ensured a long healthy ripening for our grapes and the late ripening varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, reached physiological ripeness at lower sugar levels than normal. All in all, the vintage resulted in wines that have amazing balance and finesse and what they may not have in power they will make up with great purity and elegance.
Tight with flavours of melon, peach, guava and a hint of minerality. Masterly oaked with a lively crisp finish. This wine can be enjoyed now, but with careful cellaring it should age gracefully over the next 10 years.
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