WINE OF THE WEEK: Springfontein Terroir Selection Chenin Blanc 2018, Springfontein Rim, South Africa

£16.96, Private Cellar

There were a couple of other South African wines, red and white, in the running for this week's slot, but this organic Chenin is from a producer – an estate – I barely know, although once I read the label I knew a lot more about the estate, the growing conditions and the winemaking. Amazing how much you can pack on to a label if you want to.


And then I went to the website and discovered a whole lot more, not least that Springfontein Rim, an appellation or WO (Wine of Origin) of which I hadn't heard, is only two years old (the label pictured, which I got from the website, is obviously an earlier vintage because the 2018 says WO Springfontein Rim, not Walker Bay). Not only is it a new WO but it's the equivalent of a Burgundian monopole – entirely occupied by one estate, in this case Springfontein.


That it has its own WO is recognition of the fact that the growing conditions, in particular the limestone soil, are entirely confined to Springfontein's "small lentil-shaped parcel of land" very close to the Atlantic. All this within Walker Bay, which in itself is a distinctive coastal region. I could go on, but I need to get on to the liquid itself. Visit the website if terroir interests you as much as it does me: the pictures alone give a sense of this remote and airy place.


Now to the wine: a harmony of precision and lingering, creamy suppleness, with zesty fruit – lemon, grapefruit, white peach – softly mineral, salty freshness and zingy acidity. The four-week fermentation was with wild yeasts in second-fill French and Hungarian oak barrels (40%) and 600hl egg-shaped tanks (60%). Ageing continued for a further 8 months. 6148 bottles produced in 2018.


Other than having it as an aperitif, the aptly named Terroir Selection would go well with all sorts of fish and seafood – herbed, spiced or sauced – or with risotto, stir-fried vegetables or vegetable gratins. It was perfect with scallops dusted with smoked paprika and sautéed with pancetta. 12.9%


Springfontein Terroir Selection Chenin Blanc, WO Springfontein Rim, South Africa


£16.96, Private Cellar


#wine #SouthAfrica #CheninBlanc #white #wineandfood #winepairing

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