We are thrilled to share that Spier has once again demonstrated our expertise in the Chenin Blanc category, securing three prestigious gold medals at the inaugural 2023 Drinks Business Global Chenin Masters.
In this highly competitive event featuring entries from eight countries, we proudly stood out as leaders in the Chenin Blanc realm. Our 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2020, Seaward Chenin Blanc 2022, and Good Natured Organic Chenin Blanc 2022 all achieved gold medals, boasting impressive scores ranging from 93 to 96 points. Additionally, our Spier Signature Chenin Blanc 2023 received a well-deserved silver, earning a score between 89 and 92 points.
The launch of this new competition by Drinks Business signals an exciting era for Chenin Blanc, highlighting its deserving place on the global stage. In recent years, South Africa has rightfully earned recognition as one of the few countries producing exceptional Chenin Blanc, joining esteemed regions like France's Loire Valley and select Australian wineries.
But the history of Chenin Blanc at Spier runs deep. Historical records indicate that the first vines planted on our estate in the 1700s were likely 'Steen,' now known as Chenin Blanc. Today, Chenin Blanc stands as South Africa’s most widely planted grape variety, covering an impressive 18.5% of the national vineyard area and representing most of the old vine plantings. This grape's versatility shines through, producing a diverse range of styles, from sparkling wines and crisp, dry whites to luscious, sweet nectars and fine brandies - a true chameleon of the vineyard.
What truly elevates our achievements is the diversity they encompass, spanning various price brackets and styles. This reaffirms our belief that great wine originates in the vineyard, an adage particularly true for Spier.
At Spier, we embrace a comprehensive regenerative approach to farming, acting as dedicated stewards of our land, with a commitment to nurturing our soils for future generations. Consider the inspiring story of our 21 Gables Chenin Blanc. Initially, it was a low-yielding vineyard slated for replanting. However, our regenerative philosophy led us to take a different path. Instead of uprooting this established 37-year-old parcel of vines, we worked diligently to breathe new life into it. We affectionately refer to it as the 'Lazarus' vineyard, as it represents a remarkable resurrection, allowing the vine's maturity to express our terroir beautifully.
The diversity of Chenin Blanc in terms of vineyards, terroir, and winemaking expertise means that the final product depends on the winemaker's initial vision. According to our Organic Winemaker, Tania Kleintjes, the key to success lies in minimal interference in the winemaking process, letting nature take the lead. As she puts it, "The less we fiddle with nature, the better the results."
For us at Spier, everything else falls into place when nature thrives. And when it comes to our Chenin Blanc, that place happens to be atop the podium.