Estate: Cousins Hein and Adi Badenhorst, who grew up on neighboring vineyards watching their grandfather and fathers manager the vineyards, own A.A. Badenhorst Family Wines. The 60 hectares of vineyards are located in the Swartland appellation of South Africa and consists of old vines planted in the 1950’s and 60’s. Award winning winemaker Adi Badenhorst practices sustainable farming and traditional winemaking methods and is involved with the South African biodiversity project, which sees the estate planting over 300 trees each year.
Philosophy: The cousins take inspiration from “The great old wines of South Africa and the discarded varietals, the bottles of which can be found in the forgotten corners of old cellars before modern methods and fame came along and changed the purity of the wines.”
Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from dry farmed, low yielding, old vines located on the northern side of the Paardeberg Mountain. Sulphur is added if necessary and only minimally. Fermented in concrete and old vats.
Tasting Notes: Gold in colour with aromas of lemon, honey, minerals and hints of wet wool. Tasting very similar to the aromas, with friendly apple, lemon and honeysuckle flavours. Minerals and traces of lemon zest comprise the clean finish. A bright streak of acidity balances the honeyed fruit flavours, making this fantastic on its own or with a variety of dishes, especially those with cayenne, cilantro and fennel. Also great with semi-gamey cheese.
100% Chenin Blanc
Bottling information not listed on label
Estate: Chateau La Tour Grise is located in the tiny village of Le Puy Notre Dame in the Saumer region of the Loire Valley in western France. The estate dates back to the 15th century, whilst the surrounding areas have been under cultivation for 1000 years. At the helm are Philippe and Françoise Gourdon, who have become renowned for crafting expressive, terroir driven wines that “tell you where they come from and what kind of year they had”. Philippe Gourdon is passionate about biodynamic viticulture and “hands-off traditional vinification”. Mournfully those two beliefs tend to get French vine growers in trouble with appellation control authorities, and Philippe Gourdon is no exception. He chose not to submit his wines for Saumer appellation, and by doing so he lost his right to display not only Saumur Blanc on his labels, but also the name of his estate, La Tour Grise. For an interesting synopsis of the estate, check out The Wines of La Tour Grise.
Winemaking: The estate has been certified biodynamic since 1998. Traditional biodynamic methods are used such as mineral and vegetable teas and preparations for the vines; cows roam the vineyards for weed control and fertilizer purposes.
Tasting Notes: Deep gold in colour with aromas of lemon, honey, minerals and delightful hints of funk. Captivating flavours of lemon curd on toast join flowery chamomile and savoury garique herbs on a current of dense bubbles. Toast, chalk minerals and traces of smoky honey linger enticingely between each sip. A complex and engaging sparkler that is stunning on its own or with a wide variety of dishes, especially brunch type ones.
100% Chenin Blanc
[Bottling information not listed on the label]
Enjoy now thru 2017
Bearing two property names on the label [Domaine Pichot and Domaine le Peu de la Moriette], Domaine Pichot was established in 1996 and is the synthesis of the estates of father [Jean-Claude] and son [Christophe]. Christophe now runs both estates, and Pichot wines are well recognized for their value and ability to age, especially their sweet wines. The vineyards are located in the commune of Vouvray on the right bank of the Loire River. The average vine age in the Chenin Blanc vineyards is 30 years.
Golden yellow in colour with aromas of honeysuckle and buttery popcorn. Tropical flavours of pineapple and jasmine flowers abounded in the creamy body; whilst a sunny acidity, citrus zest and sweet honey infused finish balanced each sip. Easy drinking with a luxuriant, sweet outlook, this is a charming glass for the table or sipping on its own.
100% Chenin Blanc
Mis en Bouteille au Domaine
Enjoy now thru 2014
A while back I had enjoyed a glass of A.A. Badenhorst Secateurs Red Blend 2009 in a fantastic restaurant in Philadelphia, so I was enthusiastic to give the Secateurs Chenin Blanc 2012 a pour. Cousins Hein and Adi Badenhorst, who grew up on neighboring vineyards watching their grandfather and fathers manager the vineyards, own A.A. Badenhorst Family Wines. The 28 hectares of vineyards are located in the Swartland appellation of South Africa and consists of old vines planted in the 1950’s and 60’s. Award winning winemaker Adi Badenhorst practices sustainable farming and is part of the South African biodiversity project, over 300 trees are planted each year, the vines are not irrigated, and there are no additions to the grapes other than minimal sulphur. Secateurs is their second label, the grapes were sourced predominately from their vineyards and supplemented with old vine grapes from a neighbor.
Pale gold in colour with aromas of lemon, orange blossom and sea minerals. Bright flavours of lemon and peach were underscored by traces of smoked nuts and wet wool, whilst light honeysuckle and zippy ginger notes comprised the crisp finish. Engaging and refreshing, this is a delightful glass that will have you reaching for more.
Chenin Blanc [I could not verify varietal percentage]
Enjoy now thru 2016
Rated 92 points by the Wine Advocate
Rated 90 points by Wine Spectator