Kanu Chenin Blanc 2009
Chenin Blanc from South Africa
Pale straw color. Intriguing nose of green melon, nectarines and honeysuckle contrasting with a more savory celery salt character. Playful spiciness lingers in the background. A broad mid-palate underpinned by a lively apply acid structure. Lifted floral notes make this wine multi-dimensional in character.
Wine Spectator - "A bright, breezy style, with easygoing pear, apple and fig notes that are nicely rounded on the finish. Drink now."
International Wine Cellar - "Bright medium yellow. Aromas of lemon drop and smoke. Sweet and honeyed, with good fruit, but a bit lacking in verve and lift. A rather full style of chenin, with an exotic citrus note that may be from the viognier. 7.6 Grams per liter residual sugar."
The vineyards and cellar of Kanu wines are located on the Goedgeloof (HOOT-ha-loof) farm, nestled in the Polkadraai Hills of Stellenbosch. The property once formed a part of the original Spier Wine Estate, granted to a German soldier by Cape governor Simon van der Stel in 1692. According to a veteran farm hand on Goedgeloof, Kanu was a mythical bird of promise. The creature’s appearance in the African skies signaled the blessings of a bountiful harvest for all those who fell under its shadow. The wines of Kanu celebrate this traditional African legend.
Recognized globally as a producer of world class Chenin Blanc, Kanu was one of only three estates to be awarded inaugural "Super Chenin" status by the South African Chenin Blanc Association, an honor granted to producers who have demonstrated a track record of consistently outstanding bottlings. Kanu’s Chenins are crafted from the fruit of bush vines with an average age of 30 years, planted predominantly on decomposed Malmesbury shale soils.
Today the Kanu tradition of excellence continues under Cellarmaster Richard Kershaw. A proponent of minimal intervention winemaking, Kershaw employs natural "wild" fermentations. He seeks to craft balanced and approachable wines with moderate alcohol levels and minimal oak influence, allowing the true flavors of the wine to shine through. This winning formula has resulted in consistent critical praise and "Best Buy"/"Best Value" accolades. View all Kanu Wines
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A long history of growing grapes and making wine, but less of a history on exporting it, and even lesser on the quality aspect. At the turn of the century (1900, that is), a surplus of wine in South Africa created a hierarchy of cooperatives, the biggest and best known being KWV. This organization seemed to favor quantity over quality and had most control over wines and vineyards until the late 1980's. Now, with a bit more competition, quality is coming around. Yet, South African wine was not even seen in American wine stores until the mid-1990's – the trade embargo on the country for their racial apartheid laws kept South African wine out of the US. When apartheid fell, so did the embargo, and SA bottles began showing up on US shelves.
White wine has always been the cash crop of South Africa, with much of it distilled to make brandy. More white than red is planted, much of it the Steen variety – known elsewhere in the world as Chenin Blanc. Good producers are making top quality dry wines from this grape. Another grape gaining some raves is Sauvignon Blanc, producing whites that are dry and crisp, yet rounder than many of its Southern Hemisphere counterparts. For reds, the top grapes are Syrah/Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon (& blends) and Pinotage. Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends was once the favorite and most-produced, but Shiraz is taking over as wineries crank out high quality wines from the variety. Pinotage, which used to be a grape only your mother could love, has improved dramatically and is often as delicious as it is distinctive. The most popular regions of the country include Stellenbosch and Paarl.
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Notable FactsWhite wine has always been the cash crop of South Africa, with much of it distilled to make brandy. More white than red is planted, the majority of it is Steen – known elsewhere in the world as Chenin Blanc. Good producers are making top quality dry wines from this grape. Another grape the critics rave aboutSauvignon Blanc, producing whites that are dry and crisp, yet rounder than many of its Southern Hemisphere counterparts. For reds, the top grapes are Syrah/Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon (& blends) and Pinotage. Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends were once the favorite and most-produced, but Shiraz is taking over as wineries crank out high quality wines from the variety. Pinotage, a man-made crossing between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, has improved dramatically and is often as delicious as it is distinctive. In describing red wines in South Africa, smoky and meaty are two terms that are common. Regionally, the most popular wine-making areas include Stellenbosch and Paarl.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.
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