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Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Arabella Chenin Blanc 2010, South Africa - Naked Wines

"Approach with caution" is usually my attitude to Chenin Blanc - it can be a harsh, gurn-inducingly acidic sort of wine, producing at best haughty, challengingly crisp wines with a piercing streak that softens only after a number of years in bottle.

The Chenin Blanc grape originated in France's Loire Valley, but has been in South Africa since the mid-1600s and is now the country's most planted variety - to do well, yields need to be kept low and it must be picked at just the right level of ripeness.

This South African Chenin Blanc is from Naked Wines regular, Stephen de Wet who started his winery from scratch in 2006 and, with the help of children Nicky and Jamie, turned it in to a real family business where everyone is completely dedicated.

I had tried and enjoyed Stephen's Reserve Shiraz-Viognier a few months ago (see here), so I was a little unsure of what to expect from this - would it be a typical, well-made easy-drinking crowd-pleaser in the Naked Wines house style or a mouthful of battery acid ?

In fact it proved to be pretty much everything I look for in a dry white wine at this price range with hints of wet stones and guava on the nose, a lively but ripe, mouthfilling apples-and-pears acidic structure rounded out with some tropical fruit and minerality on the palate and a good, balanced finish.

There is no hint of rasping, varietal acidity on the finish to tell you that this is a Chenin Blanc at all - just lovely fruit acid structure and minerality; match with roast pork, apple sauce and plenty of trimmings or baked salmon topped with breadcrumbs mixed with parmesan and pesto.

List price is a very reasonable £7.99 with 33% cashback for Angels (for more on Naked's Angels scheme, see here).


Naked Wines - http://www.nakedwines.com/

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