Chenin Blanc is one of the most versatile grapes there is. Originating in the Loire region in the north of France, it can produce wines that are dry, sweet and sparkling. South Africa has taken it on as it’s own flagship grape and there is a steady stream of excellent wines coming out of the Western Cape that would rival many of the old world’s finest.
This wine is from a series called The Liberator, the brainchild of Master of Wine, Richard Kelley. As his website tells us, Richard’s alter ego, Rick, discovers wines that lie “beyond the periphery of South Africa’s conventional vineyard regions”, and finds “treasures, resigned to anonymity; forgotten, abandoned or simply undiscovered”. Each discovery becomes an episode in The Liberator series and comes with it’s own comic story involving Rick, which can be found on his website. These wines are once off discoveries and are only available for a short period of time. The Francophile range, which includes this wine, is produced from parcels of land in South Africa’s best known region of Stellenbosch that offer a continuous supply of grapes and is not limited in the way that the episodes are.
It’s safe to say that as a Master of Wine, Richard knows how to choose and produce great wine. Commissioned to be produced by De Morgenzon, one of South Africa’s top wineries, this wine is 100% Chenin Blanc. Richard’s expertise is the Loire and this wine reflects this with it’s old world style. With tastes of green apple, subtle stone fruit such as peach and apricot, and a lovely mineral back bone that gives it a clean and crisp palate. It has a medium to full body, and shares the versatility of the grape it was made from. You could enjoy this by itself, or pair it with a delicious goats cheese salad, or even some simple oven baked or pan fried cod.