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.”
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.
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