Slow Chenin Blanc is not fermented with fast-acting, or ‘aroma-enhancing’ commercially selected yeast. The grapes do not take three weeks to get from vineyard to bottle. It is crafted the wild way – old vine fruit, fermented with wild yeast found naturally on the grapes…not in a packet. This magical transformation takes at least six months.
The grapes for False Bay Slow Chenin Blanc stem from old bush vines in The Swartland and Stellenbosch regions. Old vines are key to making stand-out chenin and although The Swartland is not as coastal as most of the vineyards used for the False Bay wines, it is an area where, quite frankly, grapes from old vines are available at the required prices. Thankfully, the area’s old vines produce naturally low yields and retain good acidity despite being warmer and less windswept than Stellenbosch, so cooler, coastal Atlantic winds are less of a necessity for these gnarly old vines. Made by Waterkloof’s talented young Cellarmaster Nadia Barnard. Balanced grapes are hand harvested, fermented spontaneously with wild yeast in stainless steel tanks and then left on lees for a minimum of ten months before bottling. No additions other than sulphur as a preservative. Grown, made and bottled in South Africa. Vegan friendly wine from 2018 vintage. False Bay – Real Wine – Coastal Vineyards, Sustainably Farmed, Old Vines, Naturally Crafted, Wild Ferment, Slowly Matured.
Wild yeast fermentation is key to this benchmark Chenin Blanc. The long wild yeast ferment provides bready aromas and additional complexity to the wine. Dried herbaceous notes, including fennel and aniseed from the nearby fynbos, dominate the nose, followed by a creamy lemon character. The palate is reminiscent of the nose, with great textural complexity, attributable to the long, slow wild yeast fermentation.