A pure expression of Chenin Blanc - Kleine Zalze welcomes new wine to the Family Reserve Range

Friday, 10 May, 2013
Kleine Zalze
“A pure expression of South African Chenin Blanc with a real regional identity.” That’s been the avowed aim of Kleine Zalze cellarmaster, Johan Joubert, for several years, ever since he heard an international judging panel comment on South African Chenins and criticise them for being too commercial, and lacking fruit and complexity.
As the maker of some of the country’s finest chenins within the ‘rich and ripe’ and ‘fresh and fruity’ categories, Johan felt that he still had even more to offer in terms of crafting a wine with clean, pure Chenin fruit, lower alcohol and no botrytis or noticeable residual sugar to confuse the palate. With the support of Kleine Zalze’s MD and co-owner, Kobus Basson, he set out to follow his Chenin dream.

Johan’s first move was to do a thorough analysis on the soil types currently available to him, to see if he could identify wines which offered the purity he was seeking. After two years of intense work and much experimentation, he identified three different soils – Granite, Oakleaf and Duplex – in three different and specific areas of Stellenbosch.

Each vineyard was planted with bushvines and by careful canopy management, Johan ensured that the fruit remained healthy throughout the growing season with no botrytis to confuse the fruit’s elegance and delicate purity.

The result is the 2012 Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Chenin Blanc, a wine which joins the flagship range of this family-owned farm. The very best bunches were specially chosen from the three blocks identified as offering the desired fruit and structure, and the wine was then fermented first in stainless steel and then in 400 litre oak barrels (20% new, 40% each of second and third-fill) for a lengthy and slow ten-weeks in order for the wine to reveal its beauty. Lees contact was maintained throughout, adding richness and additional layers of complexity to the wine.

For Johan, the ability to produce a Chenin Blanc at such a high quality level is a great endorsement for the variety. The entire team at Kleine Zalze has always believed in the versatility of Chenin Blanc and its ability to consistently over deliver at all price-points, whilst still having the potential to produce very fine, premium wines. “The wine is fresh, pure and elegant and reflects its origins without too much emphasis being placed on the winemaking” he says. “For a wine to be part of the Family Reserve range, it must be something different, something which is worthy of the thought, development and focus which we have put in to making the wine, and I am very pleased and proud of the results.”

The 2012 Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Chenin Blanc is available at the cellar door for R130. Please contact the farm on +27.218800717 for more details or visit their website.

Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Chenin Blanc 2012
Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Chenin Blanc 2012

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