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Stark-Conde Monk Stone Chenin Blanc 2022


About this Wine

The Monk Stone is a complex Chenin Blanc matured in a combination of handmade clay amphorae and neutral French oak barrels. The bouquet of guava and quince is enhanced with notes of crème brûlée. The palate is fresh, and the finish is long with persistent minerality.  I believe this to be an age-worthy Chenin.

Monk Stone gets its name from the large boulder which punctuates the organically-grown, high-altitude vineyard block at Stark-Condé. This bush-vine Chenin vineyard is planted along dramatic terraces which were sculpted to prevent rain erosion. The wave and ripple patterns formed by these terraces, together with the large boulder, recall a traditional Japanese rock garden, and hence the name “Monk Stone.”

Technical Notes

  • Grape Variety: 100% Chenin Blanc.
  • Vineyard Location: Sourced from select vineyards in South Africa, renowned for their ideal conditions for Chenin Blanc cultivation. These vineyards benefit from a unique microclimate and soil composition that contribute to the distinct character of the grapes.
  • Soil Type: The soil in these vineyards typically includes a mix of clay and sandy loam, providing excellent drainage and contributing to the concentration of flavors in the grapes.
  • Climate: The 2022 vintage was characterized by a balanced climate, conducive to the slow and even ripening of Chenin Blanc grapes. This allowed for the development of a rich array of flavors and a well-rounded acidity in the grapes.
  • Harvesting: Grapes are handpicked with careful attention to ensure the selection of the best fruit, focusing on maintaining the balance of natural sugars and acidity.
  • Fermentation: Fermented using traditional methods to preserve the intrinsic qualities of the Chenin Blanc. The fermentation process is carefully monitored to maintain the right balance of flavor and aroma.
  • Aging: The wine is aged in a combination of stainless steel and oak barrels, which contributes to its complexity and depth, while maintaining the freshness and vibrancy of the Chenin Blanc.
  • Alcohol Content: Typically around 13-14%, striking a balance that enhances the overall character of the wine.
  • Tasting Profile: Features a pale straw color with a greenish hue. The aroma is a delightful mix of ripe pear, crisp apple, floral notes, and a hint of honey. On the palate, it presents flavors of orchard fruits, citrus zest, and a subtle minerality. The texture is well-balanced, with a lively acidity and a crisp finish.
  • Bottling: Bottled with minimal intervention to preserve the purity and expression of the Chenin Blanc grape.

Tasting Notes

Upon pouring the Stark-Conde Monk Stone Chenin Blanc 2022, you’re greeted with a beautiful, pale straw hue, hinting at the freshness and vitality within. The nose is a delightful fusion of aromas: ripe pear and crisp apple mingle with subtle floral notes and a touch of honey, creating an inviting and complex bouquet.

As you taste, the Monk Stone Chenin Blanc reveals its depth and elegance. The palate is treated to a harmonious blend of flavors – juicy orchard fruits, accented with nuances of citrus zest and a subtle minerality. The wine’s texture is beautifully balanced, with a lively acidity that adds a crisp, refreshing quality. The finish is long and nuanced, leaving a lingering impression of sophistication and finesse.

Scores & Reviews

5 stars Platters 2024 Guide to South African Wines “Exceptional”

93 pts Tim Atkin MW 2023

Rüdger van Wyk uses a combination of amphoras and older barrels to produce this elegant, well-judged Chenin Blanc from vines at 150 metres in the Jonkershoek Valley. Leesy, textured and nicely focused, with green apple, greengage and understated patisserie spices. 2023-27


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