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Ken Forrester FMC Chenin Blanc 2008

Chenin Blanc from South Africa
  • WS92
14% ABV
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4.0 1 Ratings
14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The grapes are grown in Ken Forrester's estate vineyards at the foot of the Helderberg in Stellenbosch. The vineyards are farmed organically, and everything is done by hand. Grapes for the FMC are hand selected from a single block of low yielding Chenin bush vines planted in 1974. Each vine is pruned to 5 or 6 shoots, with 1 bunch per shoot. They are planted in Clovelly — a deep yellow sandy soil — on south-southwest-facing slopes

This iconic Chenin is a benchmark South African bottling, and what Ken Forrester consider to be the ultimate expression of the Chenin Blanc grape. Crafted in a rich, ripe style, it flaunts luscious flavors of honeycomb, dried apricot and pear, with exotic tropical fruit notes and alluring undercurrents of toasted nuts, vanilla and spice.

FMC (Forrester Meinert Chenin)

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
WS 92
Wine Spectator
A very ripe, exotic style, with a toasted hazelnut aroma leading the way for almond tuile, fig and glazed pear notes. The lush finish lets additional papaya and creamed peach notes chime in. This has an off-dry hint, but stays balanced. A flashy style for sure, but pulls it off. Drink now through 2011. 515 cases made.
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Ken Forrester

Ken Forrester

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Ken Forrester, South Africa
2008 FMC Chenin Blanc
In 1993, hospitality industry veteran Ken Forrester and his wife Teresa purchased the historic Scholtzenhof estate, nestled at the base of the Helderberg in Stellenbosch. Originally established in 1689 as Zandberg, the property is one of the oldest wine farms in the Cape. Ken enlisted the help of his winemaker friend Martin Meinert in replanting and revitalizing the vineyards, with an aim to craft a white wine that could rival any in the world! And so it was that Ken Forrester Vineyards was established, with a focus on Chenin Blanc production.

South Africa

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An underappreciated wine-producing country currently undergoing a renaissance, South Africa has a surprisingly long and rich history considering its status as part of the “New World” of wine. 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, it is increasingly responsible for high-quality wines that are helping 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 the brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening. Similarly, cooler high-elevation vineyard sites offer climatic diversity.

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 earthy, gamey 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 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.

CNC553355_2008 Item# 108929

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