Cape White Blend: An important and popular category

Thursday, 10 January, 2019
WOSA Blog - Angela Lloyd
The Cape White Blend might not be a formal classification but the category is both important and popular. Thanks to the proliferation of Chenin Blanc in the Cape vineyards, many blends are either based on or contain a substantial proportion of this variety; beyond that, the sky – or the varietal mix – is the limit.

Styles also traverse everything from fruity, unwooded to funkier, oxidative wines incorporating skin maceration, spontaneous ferment and oak ageing.

Judging, especially on a blind tasting, is a tricky exercise. With Chenin the only constant, the number of other variables means each wine is its own reference point. Also, unlike other categories, such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, there are no international benchmarks for comparison.

Neither has proved a hindrance to Winemag (www.winemag.co.za) which recently held its 3rd annual Cape White Blend competition, probably the only one of its kind in South Africa where Chenin is required to form ‘a significant component, specifically more than 16% and less than 84%,’ as specified by the judging panel Convener, Christian Eedes. White blends are usually divided between Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon partnerships and those containing anything else.

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