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Rhône Whites Tasting - 23rd January '24

On the 23rd of January, we kicked off the year with an unusual tasting, Rhone White Blends, with some of their cultivars. In a few of these blends we looked at blending with a portion of Chenin Blanc. Yes you are correct in saying, NO! Chenin is from the Loire Valley (Anjou Samur, Touraine, and Vouvray) and from Bordeaux (Bourg and Blaye). A very large amount of Rhone styled white blends in South Africa, have either Sauvignon Blanc or Chenin in them. Each taster received a full set of notes detailing viticulture information, wine making and chemical analysis of the wines. Many thanks to Louis van der Riet of Jakkalsvlei and Francois Bezuidenhout of Leenders for their facts sheets. The wines were tasted single cultivars first and the blends in a flight together last. The following is the tasting order, comments of the tasters and the average scores.

 

1.     Alvi’s Drift Signature Viognier 2022

Colour-light green, with a golden rim. Nose- tea, jasmine, spices, pineapple, peach, apricot, anise. Palate- crisp acidity, citrus, peach, lemon, apricot, spice.

Score- 15.88.

2.     Vrede en Lust Viognier 2021

Colour- light green. Nose- citrus, orange, toast, vanilla, honey. Palate- crisp acidity, lemon, toast, peach, lemon, honeyed, with a slight oiliness, creamy, pears that linger to the finish.

Score- 16.50.

3.     Arbeidsgenot Grenache Blanc 2021

Colour-light green. Nose- floral, quince, citrus, lime and lemon, green herbs. Palate- crisp acidity, peach, lemon and lemon curd, savoury, banana peel, slight hint of smokiness.

Score- 15.88.

4.     Fairview Goats do Roam White 2022 (37% Viognier, 34% Roussanne, 19% Marsanne, 10% Grenache Blanc)

Colour- light green. Nose- savoury, spices, citrus. Palate- crisp acidity, meaty, smoky, spice, citrus, peach lingering to the finish.

Score- 15.88.

5.     The Wolftrap White Blend (Boekenhoudtskloof) 2022 (35% Viognier, 33% Chenin Blanc, 32% Grenache Blanc)

Colour- green. Nose- orange blossoms, straw, citrus, peach, ginger, lemon and spices. Palate- crisp acidity, citrus, ginger, spices, honeyed, pear, apples that linger to the finish.

Score- 16.13.

6.     Jakkalsvlei River Cuvee 2022 (37% Grenache Blanc, 35% Roussanne, 28% Chenin Blanc)

Colour- light green, gradating to a light golden rim. Nose- dusty, citrus with lemon and orange, spice and peaches that linger to the finish.

Score- 15.63.

7.     Leenders Baviaan 2021 (Chenin Blanc, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc)

Colour- light golden green. Nose- smoky, savoury, peach. Palate- crisp acidity, leathery, savoury, lime and oranges, with potato skin?, and sweet finish, short.

Score- 15.50.

 

Interesting tasting, with wines that had the Chenin Blanc in the blends, really tasting the Chenin in them. The Fairview was completely different and in the end people felt that they should have scored the wine better. The tasters loved the Vrede en Lust Viognier, which came tops in the Score. Second was the Wolftrap and third a three way tie with Fairview, Alvi’s Drift and Arbeidsgenot. All felt that we should try to stick to pure Rhone cultivars in a pure Rhone Blend style tasting! Thanks to all who came and made it a great tasting!

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