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Fresh off the boat from South Africa, this popular, easy-drinking chenin comes from the perfect spot in the Cape for old chenin vines. Stone-fruit flavours and a smooth mouthfeel make it great with food or without.
Product Code: SA16121
View all products by Riebeek Cellars
Riebeek Cellars is a co-operative cellar (comprising some 40 members) on the outskirts of the charming town of Riebeek Kasteel in the Cape's long-established (and now trendy) Swartland region.First established in 1941, it celebrated 75 years of winemaking in 2016. Riebeek produce a wide range of wines and wine styles, often from older bush vines which deliver greater complexity at very modest prices. The Fistful of Schist wines are made here for us, under the guidance of Alecia Boshoff. Riebeek is open for tastings and sales, and cellar tours can be arranged by appointment.
South Africa is undoubtedly one of the world's most dynamic wine producers. Established winemakers re-emerged onto the international scene in the early 1990s, following the demise of the apartheid era, and new wines, wineries, highly qualified winemakers, and even new regions have appeared steadily ever since. This makes South Africa more exciting than ever, but more complicated, too. Most South African wines are varietally labelled - a key factor in any buying decision. Styles vary of course, and our notes aim to clarify this, but you will probably already know whether you like sauvignon blanc (now among the world's best), chardonnay, riesling, syrah, pinot noir, or cabernet.South Africa's most famous grapes - white chenin blanc and red pinotage - will be less familiar unless you are already a convert. South African chenins are quite different from those in the Loire - almost always dry, but ripe and full of flavour (often with the complexity that comes from the increasingly sought-after old-vine fruit and the use of oak). Pinotage, a South African creation, is for many a love-it-or-hate-it grape. Pinotage's 'parents' are pinot noir, which imparts its strawberry aromas and lovely texture in young wines, and more complex, farmyard characteristics in more mature examples, and cinsault, the southern French grape, which adds spice and body. It was developed in South Africa in 1926. Shiraz is now making a name for itself in South Africa with some superb examples bottled varietally and showing characteristics that often places it between the plush New World style pioneered by Australia and classic Rhône balance and elegance.More significant in South Africa than much of the New World (notably New Zealand and Chile) are blends, which make selection more complicated, as the style of the wine is less easy to anticipate. As in Australia and California, however, many of the best wines here are blends - a sign of maturity in the industry. Bordeaux blends were favoured initially but there are increasing numbers of Rhône and southern French influenced blends, including some eclectic mixes, many of which are among South Africa’s best wines.The RegionsThe vineyards of South Africa are at a latitude of about 35o south, with hot, dry Mediterranean-type summers tempered by oceanic influences in the south, particularly the very cold Benguela Current. Much of the country is mountainous or hilly with a multitude of terroirs for winemakers to play with. Soils are ancient and complex, and many and varied from region to region, and even vineyard to vineyard. Rainfall is very varied from one area to another, largely depending which side of a mountain or range a vineyard lies on, and in some parts irrigation is essential. South Africa’s rigorous Wine Of Origin scheme demarcates vineyard areas, including some single vineyards, and guarantees the geographical source of the wine much like the old French appellation contrôllée system recently renamed AOP, though there are no controls on yields and grape varieties as there are in France..Bordeaux-style blends are one of the Stellenbosch region's great strengths. Wines such as Kanonkop's Paul Sauer, Meerlust's Rubicon and Warwick's Trilogy are South African icons, produced over many years, and with proven ageing capacity. The striking Simonsberg mountain names the ward (or area) most highly sought after for these reds, but Stellenbosch produces a wide range of wine styles, from excellent chenin blancs and sauvignons to robust pinotage and Cape Blends.Paarl is its less-well-known neighbour, also warm, and best known for its robust but smooth reds. Franschhoek is understandably one of the most-visited towns in the Cape (with lots of French Huguenot history and some of the best restaurants in the region). It has a number of famous producers, most notably Boekenhoutskloof, but most do not produce exclusively from Franschhoek fruit. Cape Chamonix is an exception we rate highly, producing a wide range of wine styles from bubbly to cabernet franc led red blend Troika.The generally warmer Swartland region has been at the forefront of the development of Rhône varietals in South Africa, led by stars such as Eben Sadie, as well as home to some of the best old chenin blanc vines. Further north, and much cooler is Citrusdal, where fresher styles are produced and chenin blanc can achieve real finesse.The Cape peninsula, to the south of Cape Town itself, is home to Constantia, known for its cooler climate thanks to the influence of the two oceans that almost circle it. Here, sauvignon blanc and the Bordeaux grapes predominate, but there are lovely examples of aromatic varieties too, notably Klein Constantia's elegant riesling and its wonderful sweet muscat Vin de Constance, and the vibrant sauvignon blancs from Cape Point vineyards to the south. Rhône varietals are successful new additions.Elgin, en route to Hermanus, is another very cool region, very much up-and-coming for sauvignon blanc, as is Elim, which is even further south and the source of our former Exhibition Sauvignon. Robertson is almost due north of Elim, but way inland and far hotter. A small number of family producers manage to make excellent sauvignon here, too, but it is also a good source of chardonnay, increasingly pinot noir, and elegantly styled pinotage and Rhône varietals, not forgetting the excellent fortified muskadels which are unique to the Cape.The most important factor in deciding whether or not to buy is often the producer's name. This is easily achieved when some of the grandest 'old' names, such as Meerlust, Hamilton Russell, Kanonkop, and Klein Constantia, still rank among the country's best producers. Where it gets trickier is when the winery is new, has no track record, or the winemaker is not a household name.
"Mr Collins review was spot on. Exceptional value and excellent quality. Well done again WS. "
I would recommend this wine
"Mr Collins review was spot on. Exceptional value and excellent quality. Well done again WS. "
I would recommend this wine
I thought this Chenin was charming and that it is a cut above the supermarket choices for a similar price. Slight minerality and very quaffable."
There are no press reviews for this product.
"A good clear taste with a nice edge to it and considerably more character than one might expect at this price. Very good value."
Mr Jestyn Phillips (17-May-2020)
"I'd give it three-and-a-half stars because it is fairly good value for the money. But it didn't quite live up to the rating. Almost no nose at all; lacked acidity and depth; but pleasant easy drinking, with soft honeyed hints of stone fruit as noted. "
Mr Keith Evetts (25-Apr-2020)
"A good value SA Chenin with plenty of tropical and stone fruit flavours. Acidity was a bit lacking for me, maybe due to the hot dry conditions of Swartland. Still, bang for your buck this is a gluggable thirst quencher."
Mr Will Irvine (23-Apr-2020)
"Refreshing with a clean clear taste but not outstanding for the price point. Our feeling was there are better similarly priced wines so we would probably buy another bottle, but not rush to buy another case. Good job we have five bottles left!"
Mr Steve Greenham (22-Apr-2020)
"Really lovely fresh flavour going to buy it again "
Dr Karen Harkin (21-Apr-2020)
"I do like a good Chenin at the moment- probably my favourite white varietal right now.
This is a great value wine but still hits the right notes with fresh peach and apricot notes, less citrus and more mellow stone fruit.
Will be back for more."
Mr Stephen McGarry (22-Mar-2020)
"Perfectly drinkable but forgettable, short finish. "
Miss Katie McPhee (16-Feb-2020)
"Best white wine I have ever tasted would definitely recommend and buy again"
Mr Thomas Jeffrey Peek (01-Feb-2020)
"this is just amazing! too easy to drink - lovely on own and with most foods!"
Ms Fiona Pettitt (17-Jan-2020)
The Mail on Sunday (24th Nov 2019)
"Best for Camembert. - Olly Smith"
"A nice mix of crisp fruit flavours perhaps lacking in length but for the price you will struggle to find better. I love Cotes de Gascogne and this was very similar but with less acidity which makes it more approachable and versatile. We drank it without food and I would happily offer this at a party whereas some Cotes de Gascogne's are a little too sharp for many without seafood to accompany them.
Scoring this out of 5 is difficult. My wife said it's a 4.5/5 and I'd place it at 87/100. Some would be more generous on a value basis but I struggle to adjust for value even though it is clearly present here.
I will definitely order more of this in my next order and expect it to become a standard option."
Mr Russell Craig (05-May-2019)
"Bought as a quaffing wine but it is better than that. Good depth of fruit without being overpowering. Well balanced"
Mr Nicolas J B Crocker (19-Apr-2019)
"I think Mr. Stringer's description of this wine is fairly accurate, but I would give it another star. It's really very good value for money."
Mr Gordon Best (15-Apr-2019)
"If you like unoaked Chardonnay I think this will be right up your street. Soft round ripe peach and melon with a hint of apple. I prefer a bit more acidity but that's just my preference. A very decent wine at the price by any account...."
Mr Ben Stringer (29-Mar-2019)
"Light and crisp, flavours of peach and apricot. Straightforward and refreshing. Slightly too tropical for my taste but well made wine and good value."
Mr James Small (03-Mar-2019)
"Personally, I didn't get the peach but I got bags of apple but it matters not as this is a cracking wine packed with flavor that lingers on the palette. No, it’s not high end but for the price you pay, you get a very good product. Fantastic value. "
Mr Trevor Aver (19-Feb-2019)
"This wine is a bargain. Full of interesting flavours it can stand on its own. It doesn't need food. Reminds me of Gruner Veltliner but the more learned among you may disagree with that."
Mr John Arnould (09-Feb-2019)
"The bottle boasts the wine is packed with bracing peach and creamy apple. I didn't get the peach but there is most definitely a hint of apple. This is a nice wine for quaffing and BBQ’s but it is still a quality product and great value for money. Bags of flavor and smooth on the palate. Dry but not too dry."
Mr Trevor Aver (04-Feb-2019)
"Another impressive wine from this producer. We also enjoyed their Reserve Shiraz-Cinsault-Mourvèdre and this is another fine bottle for the price."
Mr Patrick Vickers (19-Jan-2019)
"My wife, Pam, and I loved this, full of flavour and dry enough to go with white or smoked fish, lovely with chicken Kiev and the like."
Dr John Good (13-Jan-2019)
The Times (1st Dec 2018)
"Hot, arid, inland
Swartland, way north of Paarl and Stellenbosch, is the place for chunky whites,
but this chenin blanc, grown on schist and granite soil, is surprisingly
restrained, with enticing, light, smoky, spiced-lemon-curd pizzazz. - Jane MacQuitty"
"This is currently my go to white. Had several bottles now and very impressed, well balanced but complex enough. Great value."
Mr Thomas Cottrell (19-Feb-2019)
"An excellent example, very much enjoyed by the lucky diners. Especially for this price point. Will be buying more."
Mr Keith Mantell (09-Oct-2018)
"Vibrant, zesty taste. Very drinkable, and apple esque."
Mr Benjamin Blunt (15-Feb-2018)
"Love this, full of flavour but oh so fresh"
Mr Kenneth Todd (22-Jan-2018)
"Splendid value for only £6.25 a bottle.
The first nose lightened my dull and dreary kitchen, and bathed me in warm sunshine, blue skies and warm sand under my toes. I liked very much the crisp green apple on the nose, as well as mango and lemon zest, with a lovely back note of vanilla sweetness at the end.
The taste was good, a slight tongue tingling acidity which reminded me of lime and lemonade as well as a clean, slightly mineral back note which off set well against the acid first notes. The taste developed more in the glass, and in the second glass I was picking up hints of nectarine and a slightly sweet caramel.
This is a jolly pleasant, easy drinking every day wine, and I very much enjoyed it!
Mr Matthew Dixon (19-Jan-2018)
"On first tasting at a wine event this felt deeper in flavor. Now after buying ... a sour apple and harmonious finish with a high acidity. Lacks the Umami mushroom flavour i originally found. Hmmm ... worth experimenting with"
Mr Hugo Allen-Stevens (04-Oct-2017)
"Delicious & worryingly easy-drinking white from SA. Very good value."
Miss Claire Chapman (15-Sep-2017)
"Colour: Bright, light golden yellow.
Aroma: Ripe pungent nose, gooseberries, apples, guava and melon backed up by lots of lemon.
Taste: All ripe fruit flavours with just enough acidity to retain a freshness. Quite rich, medium-bodied with a smooth texture and a good persistent finish.
Overall: Just OK for my taste. A bit full or heavy for my liking as I prefer more acidity or at least a wine that is better balanced and less fruit forward. However, good value, perfect for those who like fruity, richer, weightier whites. Best served well chilled."
Mr Gabriel Higgins (10-Sep-2017)
"Had the odd bottle of this is the past. My wife and a friend sampled the 2016 vintage and Ive been commanded to get a case! Good value."
Mr John Cook (18-Jun-2017)
The Mail on Sunday (21st May 2017)
"Brilliant best buy.
Refreshing and fulsome as the ripest apple. - Olly Smith"
"Sadly disappointing compared to the 2014 vintage. Will be searching for a replacement until the release of the 2016......."
Mr Joe Searle (16-Sep-2016)
"We, too, miss the freshness of Stormy Cape's Chenin Blanc. Has anyone yet found a good substitute or does The Society intend to bring it back?"
Mrs B P Collins (10-Sep-2016)
"Not a great wine - agree with previous reviewer about the nasty aftertaste - like marker pen"
Mr Christopher Woodhead (11-Aug-2016)
"Lacks the clean fruitiness of South Africa's Stormy Cape Chenin Blanc (now sadly discontinued by the Society) and has an unpleasant aftertaste."
A D Thorpe Esq (18-May-2016)
Hexham Courant (30th Sep 2016)
"Not all [South
African chenin blanc] is wonderful, but I warmly recommend [this from] The Wine
Society, which is far less gritty than it sounds and has lots of ripe, stone
fruit flavours. - Helen Savage"
"A lovely, rich and fresh wine. Touches of lemon and lime curd with a fresh citrus zip and well balanced with acidity and minerality. Just off dry and well suited to creamy chicken pasta. Recommended and a lot of wine for the price."
Mr Paul Braydon (19-Jul-2015)
"Best £6 I have spent on a bottle of wine. Very classy for the price. Excellent with or without food."
Mr Paul Darvill (04-May-2015)
"Nice peach tones, medium sweet, very pleasant and really good value."
Mr Simon Giddins (01-Jan-2015)
"Wine now completely settled down. Detectable oak now part of the mix. 'Everything in harmony.' OK - it's relative, but this is very enjoyable and terrific value for money."
Professor John L Moles (28-Oct-2014)
"Very enjoyable crisp and fresh wine. Very good value"
Mr Anthony J Doyle (11-Oct-2014)
"Peach/nectarine nose. Bracing acidity tempered by good fruit and some fullness. Oak not obvious. Second bottle defective but refunded. In its correct state very good value.."
Professor John L Moles (07-Oct-2014)
"Just reordering another bottle of this after a first taste today. Don't drink a lot of Chenin, but if I am going to, this is a very good, low cost option. As a previous review mentioned, a bit of pear drop in there, but also light fresh fruit that makes it an easy and refreshing drinker."
Mr Matthew Huntingford (21-Apr-2014)
"Smells good, hints of interesting things. Not bad at all on the palate - perfectly pleasant, but just seems to be missing something "special". Nice and fresh at the moment - would it get better with a little more bottle age?. Not sure if this is one of those wines to age a little."
Mr David Woolcock (17-Apr-2014)
"I simply cannot understand the reviews to date. Stormy Cape Chenin has been a stalwart of my drinking for some time and I thought I would try this as an alternative having terrified my wife by driving over the Swartland Pass! I found this ,if anything ,a step up from Stormy Cape ..utterly delicious on its own. Bad wine making???.. What planet are you on? Still each to their own...."
Mr Neville W Harris (11-Apr-2014)
"Agree with the first review. I was very disappointed in this wine. Not what I expected from a Chenin. I found it somewhat light and innocuous, certainly not complex and extra flavoursome has indicated by the tasting notes. Admittedly I haven't either heavily chilled it or let it breathe for hours on end as has been recommended. Still think there are far fruitier Chenins for not much more."
Mr M J Green (04-Mar-2014)
"I think I owe the WS a qualified apology following my previous review of this wine just two days ago! After depositing the half consumed bottle on the fridge I re-opened it today ostensibly to pour into the chicken gravy for Sunday lunch. I thought I had better re-taste it just in case and low and behold, it had improved. Either that or my original tasting was awry. I think this is one of those white wines that needs to settle and breathe a bit to be at its best. So worth a punt for £5.95 if you can lay it down for a month or two and give it a few hours opened and chilled to almost freezing point. I might give it another go should there be another vintage. I'd be interested to see what other people's experience of this wine is."
Mr Mark Jones (10-Nov-2013)
"I tried very hard to like this wine given its beautiful bottle and label but alas I could not! The aroma is heavy with pear drops and a biting acidity on the palate is only counteracted by the most highly flavoured foods. There is a ghost of a good wine in there, but I am afraid it is ruined by faulty wine making resulting in something that is not far from undrinkable. There are very many really good wines at this price bracket from the WS, and this exception only goes to prove that rule. I suppose it might have just been a rogue bad bottle, and other reviewers may have had a different experience - I really hope so! But if in any doubt, opt for something else, such as the Robertson Chardonnay, which is slightly cheaper and very much nicer."
Mr Mark Jones (08-Nov-2013)
Birds with Bottle (30th Jan 2014)
"See video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRrYoAJguUo - Sandra Clement & Mel Jones MW"
timatkin.com (13th Dec 2013)
One of Tim's Top 50 Wines for Christmas. This
hails from the über trendy Swartland region but is labeled as a Coastal wine
because it’s shipped in bulk and bottled in Europe. But who cares when the
result is as good as this fresh, stony, pear and boiled sweets-like white.
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