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)

Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks ~ Tasting a Pair of Memorable Grenache Reds from Vriesenhof Vineyards…

A legend on and off the rugby pitch, Vriesenhof Vineyards’ owner has been crafting sturdy classical wines since the early 1980’s when Jan “Boland” Coetzee purchased his farm in the Paradyskloof Valley and planted Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Pinotage and Pinot Noir.

The south facing slopes of the vineyards allow Jan and head winemaker Nicky Classens to produce wines of exceptional character and quality. Situated at varying altitudes, the vineyards are exposed to the cool coastal breezes from False Bay, their soils consisting mostly of decomposed granite and Malmesbury shale. The hilltop is home to Pinotage bush vines where the rich shale soils enhance the fruit purity in the Pinotage grapes.

But it is the wines produced from Grenache grapes sourced in the Piekenierskloof that has been turning heads and raising eyebrows of late. So I was pleased to taste two vintages together including Jan’s new 2016 release.

Vriesenhof Vineyards Grenache 2014, Piekenierskloof, 14 Abv.

Lovely translucent and bright colour. There is a wonderful lifted perfume of dried rose petals, hedge row and cherry blossom mixing with smokey, earthy red berry and bramble berry spice. The palate is laser like with crisp acids and plenty of bright crunchy red fruits. Wonderful focus and intensity for this vintage. The finish is zesty, concentrated and long with a seductive tart cranberry finale. Really quite impressive. Drink now to 2028+

(Wine Safari Score: 93/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Vriesenhof Vineyards Grenache 2016, Piekenierskloof, 14 Abv.

Crystalline bright ruby, this wine shines in the glass. The nose is rich and warming with notes of cherry confit, cured meats, strawberry jam and raisined cranberries. There is also a complexing earthy, peppery savoury depth counter balancing the lifted jasmine blossom perfume. Fleshy and sweet fruited, there is similar palate concentration to the 2014 Grenache but is delivered in a more opulent style with softer, rounder acids and suave creamy powdery tannins. A warmer, riper, dryer vintage executed with class and flair. Drink now to 2026+

(Wine Safari Score: 92/100 Greg Sherwood MW)