2016 L’Avenir Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch, South Africa
A crisp pale straw yellow with beautiful clarity. On the nose, precise and intense fruit aromas of ripe pineapple and melon, accented by subtle honey and toasted almonds from 40% wood contact and battonage, lees stirring. On the palate, full and rich with a complex roundness and refreshing acidity that creates a memorable and elegant finish, with a slight minerality to the end.
A dry vintage with moderate temperatures yielded healthy Chenin Blanc grapes. Selective picking of separate batches resulted in good complexity, with crisp acidity and generous fruit.
A selection of vineyards on the cooler sites of L’Avenir Estate. Older vineyards of more than 40 years contribute to the depth of this wine. Young bush vine plantings have recently been established to provide a distinct blending component for future vintages.
Yeast: Selected strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (Vin 2000, NT45, NT116) Fermentation: approximately 18 days. Maceration: Skin contact limited to 5 hours Malolactic fermentation: None Maturation: 60% in stainless steel tanks on healthy fine lees whilst performing battonage lees stirring on a regular basis and the other 40% in 1-3 fill French oak barrels, for 6-9 months. Fining: Bentonite and isinglass.
With bright acidity, concentrated fruit and a distinctive spicy undertone, this is a remarkably versatile food wine. This wine will take pork belly with an apple cider reduction to a next level.
Varietal: Chenin Blanc
Alcohol: 13.5 %
Residual Sugar 1.8 g/L
4x 2016 L’Avenir Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch, South Africa
12x 2016 L’Avenir Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch, South Africa
L’Avenir’s rich history dates back to the late 1600s, when the estate was one of the very first sites identified for grape growing by the Cape’s earliest European settlers. The estate was renamed L’Avenir in 1992 by Mark Wiehe, a Mauritian businessman, who left a career of trading sugar in London to purchase the farm. This was the start of specialization of this unique boutique winery.
Wiehe appointed former pharmacist Francois Naude as winemaker and the estate swiftly gained recognition for its distinctive Pinotage and Chenin Blanc. In 2005, L’Avenir was acquired by the owner of the prestigious Chablis property, Laroche, Chablisien Michel Laroche.
L’Avenir is a leading Stellenbosch boutique winery that specializes in South Africa’s emblematic varietals: Pinotage and Chenin Blanc. Situated four kilometres from Stellenbosch on the slopes of Simonsberg Mountain, the estate is right in the heart of South Africa’s most revered wine appellation. The region’s climate is Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers and cool, somewhat rainy winters. Owned by the French leader of terroir wines, AdVini, L’Avenir produces authentic South African wines, with a touch of French flair. L’Avenir’s wines have gained a passionate following, locally and globally.
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Was excited to find out we were getting a bottle this round as we’d been without power for almost a week due to storms. This went straight into the chilly bin and once we got power, into the fridge again. South African white wines are often pleasant and mellow so this was a nice surprise from CaseMates since they don’t often send us imports.
After opening the bottle, the first thing we noticed was a strong, but very pleasant heady smell of grapes. Upon pouring the first glass, we noticed the nice, steady pale yellow color of the wine and very little syrup-like consistency. All in all a nice in a cool summer Chenin Blanc.
After a few sips, we really noticed the different flavors coming through. You can really taste the oak which lends that mild acidity and subtle crispness. We also detected hints of pineapple, pear, and honey as the bottle suggests. It had a nice balance to it and finished very nicely across the palate. As the wine warmed some, a stronger bite appeared; Much preferred this one lightly chilled.
We tried pairing it with the a few things and found that it tastes amazing with salty citrus snack (Lays Limón). Bright fruits such as strawberry are also an excellent accompaniment. Thanks CaseMates!
@SoSmellyAir at the end of the day, apparent ‘dryness’ is somewhat relative. When a wine has less then about .2% RS, or 2 g/L of residual sugar, it’s very difficult to detect. BUT there are two factors at play here - one is the level of acidity the wine has (the higher the acidity, the less ‘apparent sweetness’ one will detect) and your sensitivity to sweetness (those who drink their coffee black tend to find things ‘sweeter’ in general to those who need cream in their coffee). Hope that makes sense . . .
SWMBO and I spent our honeymoon in SA with most of our time near Stellenbosch so we have a soft spot for South African wines even though we literally have boxes lining the hallway with no room for storage.
@sosptuba Yeah those wine boxes can double as end-tables, ottomans (but not as in the Empire), or even a place to sit.
I have enjoyed the few wines I’ve tried from South Africa, and I do think it’s a unique area for certain white wines. That said, when I find them, they are often at a reduced price at discount stores, because I don’t think they sell well (i.e. get into big retailer chain) in the U.S. So buying a case of an unknown white, however nice, is a bit too risky if I don’t have any experience with it.
I would like to think “I trust these guys and this is probably an excellent example of fine wine from this region.” But then I don’t know anything about this wine specifically, and the memories of the International Case of Mystery/Misery still remain. How many of us had to decide whether to consume (against better judgement), use for cooking, or pour down the drain. I suspect the mystery case things will harm future International wine sales on this site for years to come.
@pmarin I talked with a buddy who grew up in Cape Town and this is what he said "My only concern is it’s the 2016. My rule of thumb for South African white is you drink it in the year or the year before so I don’t tend to drink 2018 or older anymore. 2020 and 2019 is about as far back as I would go so there’s a chance some of it might be corked. "
@pmarin@sosptuba not to be that guy, but that’s… not the best rule of thumb for SA whites. yes, okay, if you’re talking the really cheap stuff, but even then I’ve had 50 year old jerepigo hanepoot from KWV that was phenomenal. the modern classics like sadie family palladius or mev. kirsten will likely last decades; david & nadia, beaumont, badenhorst, hamilton russell, mullineux, reyneke etc all produce fantastic whites that will easily last ten years, but I digress. SA oaked chenin blanc is some of my favorite wine in the world, it’s not often easy to find here in California, I would absolutely love to have more of it to drink, and I won’t be buying any of this. I’ve spent months in the Cape over the years, attended wine tasting in Cape Town, visited dozens of wineries, and had the great good fortune of meeting many of the amazing folks who work so hard to bring this stuff to the world… but I have never, ever, not even once heard of this producer, it’s not in a (in my opinion) particularly exciting part of Stellies… and yeah, 2016 doesn’t seem worth the risk given the unknowns even at this discounted price. if you’ve never had the chance to drink oaked chenin from a respected SA producer, absolutely do it… but… I wouldn’t start here. (not sure if it’s cool to mention the membership-only store that rhymes with “rice cub” here in San Diego, but they sell a more than decent oaked chenin from the Swartland - a superior terroir for chenin, I’d argue, than Stellenbosch - for $10.09, same-day delivered.)
@pmarin@sosptuba a wine is either corked or not - has nothing to do with the age of that wine. Wines may develop other ‘issues’ like oxidation or bacterial issues as they age, but NOT TCA - it is either there at bottling with a ‘bad cork’ or not in general . . .
Sorry for the late rattage. I’ve been away from home so I asked my domestic supervisor to give it a go and write up a few notes. Her arm didn’t require much twisting.
Great for a gathering, especially a girls’ weekend when things really need to get done. I think it would go great with chicken or a salad based meal, but not for most seafood meals. Good with fruits and all kinds of cheeses. Perky. Pleasant. Light.
So there you have it. I understand it was quite good.