However many great wines Ian Naude has made in his long career at multiple wineries, it only seems fitting that his most exciting vinous expressions have come under his eponymous Naude label. For Ian, Chenin Blanc has always been one of his great strengths, none more so than his amazing 2013 Old Vine Chenin Blanc which featured in my Top 10 Wines of the Year in 2016.
Made from three vineyards, two from Durbanville and one from the Swartland, the vines are on average 40 years old. Picked on taste and flavour ripeness and not analysis ripeness, the juice is naturally fermented with no additions after the fruit is crushed in whole punches and then transferred direct in 300 and 500 litre French oak barrels. Wines are left as long as possible on their lees with batonage once a week.
The essence of the Old Vine Series is to allow this high quality fruit to express itself as naturally as possible and allow it to tell its own authentic story.
The 2016 Chenin Blanc at this embryonic phase in many ways reminds me more like the 2015 expression from Naude. The nose is very dusty, pithy and laden with liquid minerals. There are aromas of crushed granite, chalk dust, peach stone, green apples, with a sprinkling of dried green baking herbs and fynbos. The palate shows harmonious weight, flesh and sleek textural depth, but remains quite broody and tight in its youth. All very subtle and tightly packaged, there are nuances of white crunchy pears, dusty white citrus, wet river pebbles, tart white peaches, citrus oil and picante tangerine peel. Fine mid-palate tension, vibrant fresh acids and as expected from a warm, dry vintage, plenty of concentration and length, albeit a little closed up and tight right now. This looks like a worthy follow up to the impressive 2015. Drink now to 2030+
(Wine Safari Score: 94/100 Greg Sherwood MW)