The South African Chenin Blanc Association, organiser of the annual Standard Bank Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge, has awarded Durbanville Hills’ Collector’s Reserve The Cape Garden Chenin Blanc 2018 with the coveted Top 10 award for 2019. 

Close to 150 entries were received from 87 producers and tasted blind by an expert panel of judges.  

A delighted Kobus Gerber, Durbanville Hills’ white-winemaker, says he is overjoyed by the recognition.

“Chenin Blanc thrives under the cool climate conditions of the Durbanville area. And we simply couldn’t resist adding this noble cultivar to the Durbanville Hills family. We selected two vineyard blocks for this particular wine to show case the diversity found within the valley where the cooling sea breezes and ample sunshine creates a dynamic combination for crisp, aromatic and cultivar-specific wines. I really believe that the wine’s depth and complex layers of flavour won the judges over, similar to how the wine mesmerised us the first time we tasted the final blend!” 

Light straw with green edges in colour the wine opens up to a combination of pineapple, apricot roll, dried mango, green apple, cinnamon and vanilla flavours. The wine is elegant and creamy with lingering lime sweet apricots, oak spice and vanilla. 

The grapes were selected from a vineyard on the open easterly side of the valley where the cool sea breeze from Table Bay meets the dry warmer in-land air. The block is north-east facing, resulting in the vines being exposed to sunlight from early in the morning which ensures even ripening at the start of the season. The soils are sandy loam, allowing for good draining of excess surface water with good water retention lower down. The other block is on the open westerly side of the valley that faces west, exposing the vines to the sun until it sets into the ocean. The soils are fairly deep and of the Yellow Clovelly and red Hutton forms, have a fair amount of clay content for good water retention. 

Once harvested, the grapes were crushed and destemmed and the juice cold settled with regular lees stirring for three days, before being divided into three portions for fermentation. Of these portions 14% was cold fermented in a stainless-steel tank, racked after fermentation and left on its lees for nine months, while 66% was fermented and matured for nine months in a combination of new and old French oak with regular less stirring. The remaining16% was enriched with fresh juice during fermentation and matured for nine months in a combination of new and old French oak with regular lees stirring. An additional 4% was fermented in open fermenters, on the skins, with one light punch down per day and the free-run wine matured for nine months in American oak barrels. Before the final blend was made, all the different components were tasted and only the best selected for this extraordinary wine.

Inspired by Cape Town and its people’s radiant energy and creativity, The Collector’s Reserve range is unlike anything Durbanville Hills has ever produced. To complement each of the wines in the range, the cellar commissioned Capetonian artist, Theo Vorster, to pair each wine with a prominent landmark in Cape Town, most of which are visible from the winery. Theo is known for creating unique pieces of art using new hand-coloured Linocuts, ultimately transporting viewers into an energised, playful dimension. With each landmark comes a distinctive story which can be found on the back of the respective bottles.

The Durbanville Hills Collector’s Reserve The Cape Garden Chenin Blanc 2018 features the Company’s Garden which dates back to a time when fresh produce and supplies were first provided to ships rounding the Cape. Although originally a vegetable garden, it was not long before the first Chenin Blanc vineyards were planted, and today, the Gardens are recognised for their contribution to the Cape’s horticultural heritage. The Chenin Blanc is a true tribute to these Gardens and the origins of Chenin Blanc in the Cape of Good Hope. 

The Durbanville Hills Collector’s Reserve The Cape Garden Chenin Blanc 2018 is available from the cellar and and retails for R150 per bottle.

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