The Platter’s 2020 South African Wine Guide has awarded a coveted five-star rating - the guide’s highest ranking - to Spier’s 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2018. It is the second year in a row that the 21 Gables Chenin Blanc has received this prized accolade from Platter’s.
Yet the Platter’sguide is not the only entity to have recognised the ongoing excellence of Spier’s 21 Gables Chenin Blanc. The 2018 vintage won Double Gold at the recent Veritas Wine Awards, with previous vintages also receiving many accolades at home and abroad. In 2018, the wine was recognised at the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show, where the 2016 vintage won the Trophy for Best White Wine Overall. Internationally, the same vintage received the Chenin Blanc Trophy at the prestigious International Wine & Spirit Competition 2018.
“Spier has become renowned for Chenin Blanc thanks to our intense focus on the varietal” explains Spier Cellar Master Frans Smit. “When I joined the farm 22 years ago, we had only two Chenins in our portfolio; now we have five. It’s our biggest exported varietal and pays tribute to our rich winemaking heritage – Chenin was the first grape planted on the farm in the late 1600s. We’re delighted with these awards – they show that our commitment to crafting high quality and terroir-expressive Chenin Blanc is bearing fruit, regardless of the price point or style of wine.”
Vines with an age of 35 years yielded the grapes for this award-winning wine. The vineyard is planted in the high hills of Tygerberg where the landscape is renowned for old geological formations, and the soil for Malmesbury shale. Lying within 15km of the ocean, the sea breezes temper the heat, allowing the grapes to hang on the vines for longer.
“We do very little in this small, low-yielding vineyard and this hands-off approach carries through into the cellar,” says Smit. “The berries are extremely small and concentrated and we let these intense flavours speak for themselves, with no additives used. The grapes’ own natural yeasts complete the fermentation in old French oak barrels.”
The resulting wine has a molten gold appearance and carries soft aromas of dried apricots and ripe tropical fruit, with an oak and vanilla undertow on the nose. On the palate, there’s good acidity and rounded rich flavours of white flesh peaches, almond paste and creaminess.
This makes the Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc an excellent accompaniment for crisp pork belly with oriental caramelisation, duck breast with fynbos honey and spices, or Cape-style pickled fish.