The low yielding 2018 drought vintage produced a lot of challenges for vintners but more often than not, yielded overall wine quality in bottle that far exceeded wine industry expectations pre-harvest. While the 2018 whites don’t necessarily have the same intensity, piercing concentration and acid frame that the 2017s exhibited, they do processes great flavour subtlety, crystalline purity, fine varietal typicity and an overall harmonious balance. The main vintage downside was that yields for many producers were reduced by between -30% and -60%, and perhaps down to -80% for some old vine dry grown vineyards, representing a mini catastrophe as global demand surged for South Africa’s top producers.
The old vine Patatsfontein Chenin Blanc white, now in its 5th vintage, is produced by winemaker talent Reenen Borman and business partners Henk Kotze and Fritz Schoon under the Ron Burgundy Wines venture and has established a high quality track record that places it among an elite group of top Chenin Blanc wines produced in South Africa.
Henk, Reenen and Fritz… HRF
Patatsfontein Old Vine Single Vineyard Chenin Blanc 2018, Montagu, 13.5 Abv.
Produced from an old vine single vineyard in Montagu, the 2018 Chenin Blanc represents another great success for the vintage. The aromatics boast mineral laden notes of wet stones, crushed granite, grey slate with dried hay, green pears and tangerine peel. The palate shows a fine harmonious balance with plenty of subtle complexity of pineapple pastille, green apple, crunchy white peach and a pithy stony mineral veneer. It will be interesting to see if the wine moves away from a mineral, lighter weight textural precision towards a more fleshy, glycerol expression after a few years in bottle. Either way, this is a serious top shelf, grown up effort that will have the loyal Chenin collectors scrambling to burying precious bottles in their cellars.
(Wine Safari Score: 95/100 Greg Sherwood MW)