As South Africa solidifies its position as the best place in the world to find world class Chenin Blanc, it becomes more apparent with time that there are certain producers who can really deliver high quality at remarkable pricing.
Stellenrust is in a unique position as it has a number of old vine vineyards to work with, Chenin Blanc making up a large share of this old vine material. It truly is an exceptional winery and does many things well but their Chenin Blanc is one of the key varietals for this venerable producer. One of the wines that showcases the winery’s prowess with Chenin Blanc is their Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc sourced from old bush vine material, from Stellenbosch’s Bottelary Hills, planted in 1964. Part of the Old Vine Project (OVP), each new vintage carries the age of the vines on the bottle; the current 2021 vintage comes from vines that were 57 year old at the time of harvest.
The 2021 ’57’ Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc possesses an assortment of tropical and stone fruit flavors that’s driven by an underlying vein of countering acidity that plays off perfectly against the wine’s intense fruit and mid palate creaminess. Possessing exceptional length and persistence on the finish, there’s a touch of botrytis that adds extra complexity to the whole package. Engaging and a sheer delight to drink, this is just now starting to open up with a good number of years of great drinking in front of it. For $29.99 you get a lot of wine for the money.
95 pts Winemag.Co.ZA Oct 2023
Grapes are from a 57-year-old Bottelary vineyard and hence the designation on the front of the bottle. This wine can sometimes be almost excessively intense but the 2021 pulls together very nicely. Spontaneously fermented and matured for nine months in predominantly older oak, it has an alcohol of 14%.
The aromatics are compelling with waxy, leesy notes preceding peach, orange, thatch, fynbos and spice. The palate, meanwhile, is super-concentrated, but this is offset by punchy acidity. It’s greasy in texture but not too much so, the flavour comes in waves and waves, the finish long and sophisticated due to the slight bitterness it provides.
94 pts Tim Atkin MW 2022
Called 57 because that was the age of the vineyard when Tertius Boshoff made the 2021 vintage, this is another spectacular Chenin from the Bottelary Hills. Fermented in 16% new wood, it has some exotic botrytis notes, 3.9 grams of residual sugar and flavours of pineapple, honey, toast and lemon zest. Very intense. 2023-30
4 ½ Stars 2023 Platter’s South African Wine Guide
Venerable yet vivacious from 57 year old Bottelary vines, 21 (93 pts) offers interplay of ripe stonefruit with vivid acid (7.4 g/l) & creamy oak, just 17% new. Fruit handled reductively & oxidatively. Already elegant, natural ferment & dab botrytis add complexity.
Stellenrust Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 57 – Grapes for this wine are harvested from a single vineyard planted in 1964 of Chenin Blanc on the slopes of the Bottelary Hills, hence the number on the front of the bottle refers to the age of the vines in the year the wine was made.
Again careful attention to every grape coming into the cellar was necessary for the vintage through sectional harvest. Even though warmer temperatures than normal occurred during the harvest, hanging time was in line with other vintages on these old bush vines. Botrytis development also took some time but did eventually occur after mid-March drizzles.
Grapes are harvested between 22 and 24 balling and the juice is allowed to settle without enzymes over several days. The juice is then drawn off into a special selection of barrels and allowed to ferment naturally. Fermentation took just under 8 months to finish and the wine was kept on the fermentation lees for an additional 1 month.
57-year-old bush vines from Bottelary property planted in ironstone
Time spent on lees in barrel: 9 months in oak: 90% French and 10% Hungarian oak.