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Kanu Chenin Blanc 2004

Chenin Blanc from South Africa
  • WE90
0% ABV
  • WS87
  • WE89
  • WS87
  • WS87
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3.5 19 Ratings
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3.5 19 Ratings
0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The grapes were hand picked in the early morning from twenty two year-old low crop bush vines. The vineyards are optimally situated at two to three hundred metres above sea level in the prime Koelenhof area in Stellenbosch. After the grapes were lightly crushed, the free run juice was cold-fermented at 13°C. Reductive winemaking techniques were used to ensure minimal contact with oxygen, thus preserving fruit character.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 90
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Kanu
Kanu, South Africa
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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.

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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Unquestionably one of the most diverse grape varieties, Chenin blanc can do it all. It shines in every style from bone dry to unctuously sweet, oaked or unoaked, still or sparkling and even as the base for fortified wines and spirits. Perhaps Chenin blanc’s greatest asset is its ever-present acidity, maintained even under warm growing conditions. While most would agree it reigns supreme when from its birthplace of the Loire Valley, Chenin is the most planted variety in South Africa. California’s Clarksburg appellation is also winning more notoriety for its Chenin.

In the Glass

Chenin's drier versions commonly have characteristics of passion fruit, lemon, quince, green apple, saffron and chamomile while sweeter version express aromas and flavors such as yellow pear, white peach, persimmon, melon, ginger and honeysuckle. When aged in oak, qualities like meringue and brioche can be found. Sparkling versions often have yellow apple, ginger and floral notes.

Perfect Pairings

Cool-climate Chenin blanc has the chalky acidity to work with light seafood such as oysters and shellfish. Off-dry styles work well with the sweet-and-sour nature of Thai and Vietnamese food. The sparkling versions such as Saumur Mousseux, Vouvray Petillant and Crémant de Loire make amazing aperitif options that won’t bruise the pocketbook.

Sommelier Secret

South Africa actually has double the amount of Chenin blanc planted compared to France. It is believed that either the Dutch navigator, Jan van Riebeeck, brought the grape to Cape Town in 1655 or the Huguenots fleeing France brought it in 1685. Either way, the South Africans have favored it for many centuries and make it in almost every style. Today a new wave of dedicated producers has committed to restoring old Chenin vines and finding the most ideal new spots for this prized variety.

WWI653618_2004 Item# 83887