Time and again, Stellenrust shows how it’s done with really old vines

TOP WINE SA Hall of Fame, one of the top 100 in the 2022 SA Wine Classification, among South Africa’s top 10 Chenins and one of the country’s Wines of the Year in 2021. The Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc from Stellenrust in Stellenbosch, where the business is headed up by Kobie van der Westhuizen (viticulturist) and Tertius Boshoff (cellarmaster). Consistently top quality, always interesting and good value. Outstanding!

The silver ‘plaque’ above the front label of the bottle tells the age of the vines in the year that the wine was made – the grapes grown on the Bottelary Hills in the north-western reaches of Stellenbosch before being trucked to the cellar in the Helderberg foothills south of the town. Some wine producers in the Cape slap on a Certified Heritage Vineyards seal on their bottles as soon as the plantings turn 35, whereas those wines from vines over 50 years old make up a very select group indeed!

The current release, the 2020 vintage, won a trophy at the International Wine Challenge and was rated 5 Stars in Platter’s SA Wine Guide. Some of the previous accolades just over the past 10 years: trophies at the International Wine & Spirit Competition for the 2018, 2016 and 2012 vintages; trophies at the Global Fine Wine Challenge for the 2016 and 2015 vintages; 5 Stars in Platter’s for the 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2012 vintages; a winner in the Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge for the 2016, 2015 and 2013 vintages; trophy at the Michelangelo Awards with the 2015 vintage…

WO Stellenbosch. Grapes from 56-year-old vineyard on the slopes of Bottelary Hills. Cooler-than-normal harvest-time temperatures. Some botrytis after mid-March drizzles. Natural fermentation in barrels over eight months and wine kept on the lees (spent yeast) for a further month – 90% French oak, 10% Hungarian.
Alc 13.8 | RS 3.6 | TA 7.5 | pH 3.1
International Wine Challenge Tasting Notes: Ripe and bright on the nose with subtle tropical fruit and waxy hay-like sheen. Full and rich but crucially done with finesse and a great balancing acidity.
Food Pairing Suggestion: Will complement an array of dishes, including orange-infused duck confit, or lemon-infused Norwegian salmon on a bed of creamed spinach and potato purée.

Article by: Mike Froud, Top Wine SA –

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