Classic Wine's Top Six Rosé / Blanc de Noir, Chenin Blanc and Merlot wines
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South Africa’s definitive wine publication, Classic Wine, lauded winemakers of the Top Six Rosé / Blanc de Noir, Chenin Blanc and Merlot wines from its unsighted, audited category tasting assessments at a presentation awards evening held on 6 March at Bread &Wine Vineyard Restaurant, Môreson. Top Six recipients also received a trophy, certificate a

The Top Six Chenin Blancs for Classic Wine comprised a unanimously rated 5-Star wine, the Albertus Viljoen Chenin Blanc 2012 from Alvi’s Drift, with its fine integration of oak and fruit - and it was not the only Chenin from Alvi’s Drift in this Top Six! A 4½-Star wine, the Kanu KCB 2011, a frequently top-rated producer of Chenin, was noted as ‘a big style, brilliantly executed’. The other four wines rated 4 Stars were: Alvi’s Drift Chenin Blanc 2013, Credo Quattuor Chenin Blanc 2010 from Stellenbosch Vineyards, Rijk’s Private Cellar Chenin Blanc 2009 and Rudera Robusto Chenin Blanc 2011.

Comments from the Chair, Michael Crossley, international wine taster and director at Reciprocal Trading, about the state of Chenin: ‘Every vintage from 2009 to 2013 in the Top Six... highlights the varietal’s ageing potential and the fact that it produces a variety of styles from “fresh and youthful drinking” to “more mature, age-worthy wines”.’
In the Top Six Rosé/Blanc de Noir category tasting, 4-Star ratings were found for Dornier Cocoa Hill Rosé 2013, Newton Johnson Felicité Rosé 2013 and Vondeling Rosé 2013. The other three wines in the Top Six, with 3½ Stars, were: Allée Bleue Starlette Shiraz Rosé 2013, Fish Hoek Rosé 2013 and Strandveld First Sighting Rosé 2013.

Chair of the panel Fiona McDonald, international wine taster and writer, noted: ‘One thing this category offers up is huge enjoyment of fruit - lots of tangy, lip-smackingly fresh berries.’ Other members of the panel said they were more than happy to reassess any prejudices about the category as a result of the quality found in this tasting - ‘dry, light, well-balanced and with a good ratio of fruit to acid’.

The Top Six Merlots were all rated 4 Stars: Anthonij Rupert Merlot 2007, De Trafford Merlot 2009, Marklew Merlot 2011, Shannon Mount Bullet 2011, Sterhuis Merlot 2008 and Whalehaven Merlot 2010. The panel, chaired by Ginette de Fleuriot CWM, agreed that these Top Six wines were ‘of discernment: fuller-bodied and displaying structure yet remaining supple-textured as the best Merlots do’.

Below is the listing of the Classic Wine Top Six Chenin Blanc, Rosé/Blanc de Noir and Merlot wines from the March/April 2014 issue. This first issue of 2014 features these wines along with informative and entertaining articles, including the classic pairing of wine and words - from wine racks to bookcases, an historical wine love story, wine label collecting - the vinititulists, wine made by the coast,10 exotic wine destinations, and more...

5 Stars
Albertus Viljoen Chenin Blanc 2012 R180
4½ Stars
Kanu KCB 2011 R95
4 Stars
Alvi’s Drift Chenin Blanc 2013 R34
Credo Quattuor Chenin Blanc 2010 (Stellenbosch Vineyards) R100
Rijk’s Private Cellar Chenin Blanc 2009 R130
Rudera Robusto Chenin Blanc 2011 R110

4 Stars
Dornier Cocoa Hill Rosé 2013 R48
Newton Johnson Felicité Rosé 2013 R50
Vondeling Rosé 2013 R42.50
3½ Stars
Allée Bleue Starlette Shiraz Rosé 2013 R38
Fish Hoek Rosé 2013 R35
Strandveld First Sighting Rosé 2013 R48

4 Stars
Anthonij Rupert Merlot 2007 R410
De Trafford Merlot 2009 R200
Marklew Merlot 2011 R120
Shannon Mount Bullet 2011 R270
Sterhuis Merlot 2008 R105
Whalehaven Merlot 2010 R120

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Rudera Wines, Jonkershoek Valley , Stellenbosch, 7600, South Africa