Badenhorst Curator White Blend 2020
Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, and Viognier. Adi Badenhorst has the unique ability to fashion spectacular wines at all levels of the price spectrum. The Curator’ was assembled as a unique blend from the fantastic library of wine parcels at Adi’s disposal. Chenin Blanc is the backbone and structure of this blend. The Chardonnay was naturally and slowly fermented resulting in great texture and aromas of dried peaches, apricots and ripe citrus. The Viognier brings some spice and palate length to the wine.
Blend: 51% Chenin Blanc, 22% Chardonnay, 22% Viognier, 4% Semillon and 1% Colombar
Adi Badenhorst has created three canned versions of his good-value, entry-level Curator wines, of which this is the pick. Aromas of juicy apricots, pineapples, bananas, nectarines and wild strawberry hints too. The palate is rich, intense and flavoursome with ripe stone – and some tropical – fruit, bound in a creamy mouthfeel, like a mouthful of peach yoghurt. A little jasmine freshness tickles the finish.
The property is owned by the dynamic and good-looking cousins Hein and Adi Badenhorst. They are originally from Constantia. Their grandfather was the farm manager of Groot Constantia for 46 years. Their fathers were born there and farmed together in Constantia, during the days when people still ate fresh vegetables and Hanepoot grapes, drank Cinsault and there were a lot less traffic lights and hippies still had a presence. Together these two have restored a neglected cellar on the farm that was last used in the 1930s to make natural wines in the traditional manner.
With hundreds of white grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended white wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used in white wine blends, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a soft and full-bodied white wine blend, like Chardonnay, would do well combined with one that is more fragrant and naturally high in acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.
With an important wine renaissance in full swing, impressive red and white bargains abound in South Africa. The country has a particularly long and rich history with winemaking, especially considering its status as part of the “New World.” In the mid-17th century, the lusciously sweet dessert wines of Constantia were highly prized by the European aristocracy. Since then, the South African wine industry has experienced some setbacks due to the phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s and political difficulties throughout the following century.
Today, however, South Africa is increasingly responsible for high-demand, high-quality wines—a blessing to put the country back on the international wine map. Wine production is mainly situated around Cape Town, where the climate is generally warm to hot. But the Benguela Current from Antarctica provides brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening of grapes. Similarly, cooler, high-elevation vineyard sites throughout South Africa offer similar, favorable growing conditions.
South Africa’s wine zones are divided into region, then smaller districts and finally wards, but the country’s wine styles are differentiated more by grape variety than by region. Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, is the country’s “signature” grape, responsible for red-fruit-driven, spicy, earthy reds. When Pinotage is blended with other red varieties, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Pinot Noir (all commonly vinified alone as well), it is often labeled as a “Cape Blend.” Chenin Blanc (locally known as “Steen”) dominates white wine production, with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc following close behind.