Breedekloof’s flagship Chenins promise much but it’s early days still
SPEAKING for the Breedekloof Makers, Attie Louw of Opstal Estate in the Slanghoek ward north-west of Rawsonville and Worcester reports that since 2015 the band of winemakers have been upping their efforts in focusing on the crafting of small-volume, boutique Chenin Blanc. They have committed to emphasising the [top] quality that specially selected, diverse sites in the Breede River Valley are capable of with a variety that has been farmed in the region for many generations.
Currently, the Breedekloof Makers comprise 12 winemakers at cellars that range from co-ops to small, family-owned boutique outfits. Louw remarks that perceptions of the Breedekloof as a limited, staid district are shifting – particularly among certain wine critics and in the trade, locally and internationally. However, obviously the outcome of sighted tastings with enthusiastic winemakers and marketers in attendance can be quite different to verdicts delivered during the course of objective reviews involving panels of judges and with the labels out of sight.
Thankfully for the Breedekloof, South Africa’s annual Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge is not the only indicator as regards the pecking order in this category, as none of the cellars in this district have been represented among the 40 laureates since the national producer association introduced the awards in 2014. But excel they have – or some of them at least – in other reputable forums of late, notably Bergsig with their Reserve Chenin in Platter’s guide and at the Michelangelo Awards, Opstal with their Carl Everson Chenin in Platter’s and the Sommeliers Selection, Daschbosch Steen in a number of competitions and Stofberg with their Mia Chenin at the Michelangelo Awards.
Carl Everson is the only Breedekloof wine in the 2017 SA Chenin Blanc Classification, but surely there will be more in the future – just as the prices of these limited release specials are sure to rise from the current levels under R200 a bottle. The Stofbergs’ Mia is a good buy at just R63pb, although they are now leading with their Mariëtte at R175.