Quinta Essentia Chenin Blanc 2019, Cape of Good Hope, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Quinta Essentia is made from unique old mature bush vine Chenin Blanc vineyards, grown on four special sites on the foothills of the mountains in and around Stellenbosch. These old vines are dry farmed, and produce optimally ripe fruit with excellent sugar and acid balance. The vines bear their fruit about 20 inches from the ground. The mature vines benefit from a naturally lower vigor, and thereby carry their fruit in full exposure to the sun, which results in great flavor concentration. All fruit is harvested by hand. 2019 was marked by a dry winter, with record warmth during July. This, together with cooler Spring weather, resulted in uneven budding. Further inclement weather during Spring with periods of lower than average temperature, wind and intermittent rain, resulted in uneven flowering. This all combined to produce variable fruit ripeness on the vine. This was particularly evident on younger vines. Whilst the grapes from 2019 were lighter in concentration than 2015 and 2017, there was a particular freshness and chemical balance that resulted in wines with great balance. Chenin Blanc responds well to vintages that may give a more uneven ripeness, in producing wines that age well, with lasting elegance. A light yellow color with a green tinge suggests a cooler vintage. Fresh tropical fruits, bright peach, yellow apple, and a trademark hint of flint, greet the nose. The palate starts off with expressive ripe orchard fruits and then melds into honeyed almond, ginger spice and notes of Creme Brulee. The wine is poised and balanced, with a great combination of ripeness and mineral tension. Maturation for 10 months on full lees, in oak barrels has resulted in a wonderful combination of creamy richness.