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De Morgenzon Chenin Blanc 2009

Chenin Blanc from South Africa
  • RP93
  • WS91
14.06% ABV
  • WS91
  • RP91
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14.06% ABV

Winemaker Notes

#93 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2011

Pale, bright gold. Gentle, yet powerful nose simply oozes with class. Notes of citrus, lime and honey with some toasty nuts and rich vanilla. Well weighted mouth with layers of flavor along the lines suggested by the nose. Lime and honey tend to show more with some time in the mouth. Smooth, effortless flow across the palate. Still has a fresh, lively acidity that highlights the flavors. Super drink now yet has all the potential to develop over the next two to three years. Or more!

Critical Acclaim

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RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2009 Reserve Chenin Blanc (the renamed Chenin Blanc) has a light golden hue. The nose is muted at first but opens up to offer honeysuckle and candied orange peel aromas. The palate is very pure and well balanced with good acidity, apricot, Clementine and a touch of lime zest that leads to a very poised finish. This is a consummate Chenin Blanc, although I suspect that the 2010 will be even better. Drink now-2017.
WS 91
Wine Spectator
Ripe and concentrated, with brioche and toasted hazelnut notes leading the way for now, while the core of fig, quince and ginger waits in reserve. Pure and long, with the quince echoing on the finish. Drink now through 2014. 150 cases imported.
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De Morgenzon

De Morgenzon

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De Morgenzon, South Africa
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De Morgenzon is Dutch for "the morning sun," a fitting name for this boutique property high on the Stellenboschkloof, which is the first to be touched by the rising sun's rays. De Morgenzon's high altitude vineyards command sweeping views of Table Mountain and Cape Point, where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. Embracing the philosophy that a biodiverse and ecologically sensitive environment produces infinitely better grapes, proprietors Wendy and Hylton Appelbaum have established De Morgenzon as a 91 hectare garden interspersed with 55 hectares of carefully tended vineyards, where abundant wildflowers flourish between the vines. The vineyards are currently farmed naturally, and the estate is in the process of converting to organic farming.

South Africa

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With an important wine renaissance is 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.

Chenin Blanc

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Responsible for some of the world’s highest quality white wines, Chenin Blanc doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves. Unquestionably at its best in its birthplace of the Loire Valley, Chenin Blanc can do it all—from bone dry to unctuously sweet, still or sparkling. Perhaps Chenin Blanc’s greatest asset is its ever-present acidity, maintained even under warm growing conditions. Chenin Blanc is planted in California, namely in the Clarksburg AVA but also very widely planted in South Africa, where it is occasionally labeled as “Steen.”

In the Glass

Chenin Blanc ranges from austere to richly sweet, with aromas of McIntosh apple, honey, beeswax, jasmine, hay, and quince. When grown in warmer regions, Chenin Blanc develops richer, tropical-fruit flavors, such as pineapple and melon, as well as ripe stone fruit. Often these wines carry some residual sugar.

Perfect Pairings

Cool-climate Chenin Blanc has the structure, austerity, and chalky acidity to work with antipasti or unadorned seafood, such as oysters and shellfish. Off-dry styles work well with the sweet-and-sour nature of Thai and Vietnamese food.

Sommelier Secret

There are several appellations throughout the Loire Valley devoted to producing different styles of Chenin Blanc. Vouvray, Saumur, Anjou, and Savennieres are known for excellent dry and off-dry wines; Vouvray, along with Montlouis, Bonnezeaux, and Quarts de Chaume, produces glorious late-picked sweet wines whose high sugar levels are offset by Chenin Blanc’s hallmark acidity. Sparkling Crèmant de Loire, Saumur, and Vouvray provide delightfully affordable and flavorful alternatives to Champagne.

PIN163584_2009 Item# 113718