Ken Forrester Vineyards Prepares to Release Its Most Impressive Dirty Little Secret Chenin Blanc to date…

Most South African white wine lovers have probably heard of Ken Forrester’s excellent FMC Chenin Blanc which is widely regarded as a benchmark example nowadays. But his super premium Dirty Little Secret cuvee is a fascinating white wine made from a dry grown old bush vine Chenin Blanc vineyard planted in 1959 on decomposed granite soils situated at 650 metres above sea level facing the west coast and Elands Bay. Like the first two editions, this wine is a multi-vintage blend of older wines aged in old 400 litre French oak barrels that are then refreshed with a youthful current vintage. This third release incorporates wine from four vintages between 2017 and 2020.

Ken Forrester Vineyards Dirty Little Secret Three, WO Piekenierskloof, 13% Abv.

2.0g/l RS | 6.2g/l TA | 3.49 pH

This really is an impressive wine and on first taste reveals a balance, intensity and complexity that clearly surpasses the previous two editions bottled. The aromatics are vibrant and expressive with multidimensional hints of sweet yellow peaches, Seville oranges, tangerine peel, pineapple confit and apple purée. Both on the nose and palate, there is a bountiful mineral vein of stony granitic wet river pebble complexity that combines with electrically tart tangy acids and fleshy glycerol yellow orchard fruit nuances of peach, pineapple and tinned quince. Fabulous power and intensity together with unctuous sweet citrus fruit flavours on a honied, pithy finish. Dirty Little Secret Three is altogether more serious, more intricately assembled and more subtly restrained on the finish. Drink this classy wine on release and over 10+ years.

(Wine Safari Score: 95+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

South African Grenache for Collectors & Connoisseurs ~ Tasting the Seriously Structured Raaigras 2015 from Adi Badenhorst…

One of the original young gun pioneers of the Swartland, Adi Badenhorst is making some startling single vineyard wines from Palomino, Chenin Blanc and Grenache. They are all very impressive examples of specific varieties that seem to be excelling in the hot, dry vineyards of the Cape. 


The Raaigras Grenache is made from possibly the oldest registered vineyard of this varietal in the Cape on his Kalmoesfontein farm and the 2015 is only his second release of this single vineyard old vine red. 


Where Adi’s version differs from many of the others on the market, is the level of minerality, tannin and structure he illicit from his old vine fruit while managing to retain a modest alcohol of only 12.5 Abv. Quantities produced are tiny, so if you manage to track this one down, snap it up and pop it in your cellar.


AA Badenhorst Family Wines Raaigras Grenache 2015, WO Swartland 12.5 Abv.

This is must be one of South Africa’s best Grenache reds. Coming from old vines planted on Adi Badenhorst’s farm on the decomposed granite hills of the Paardeberg, Swartland in 1951, this wine shows such Grenache purity, power and authenticity. Made using only old oak and 30% whole bunches, the fragrant perfume is intoxicating, showing fraises des bois, parma violets, lavender, dried rose petals, bramble berry fruits, garrigue, and a delicious, savoury bresaola cured meat complexity. Plenty of textural precision, the more this wine opens up, the more minerally pronounced the tannins become, finishing with an intense, rasping granitic dry grip. Plenty of mineral tension, the finish remains very pure with great clarity and purpose together with the most alluring vermouth botanical herbal complexity. Drink now with food or age for another 3 to 5 years before cracking into your case. This one promises a long drinking curve, 10 to 15+ years. Well done Adi. 

(Wine Safari Score: 95/100 Greg Sherwood MW)