The time is ripe to celebrate McGregor Chenin
We don’t know how long we will have to wait until we can, once again, pour a glass or two of our fine McGregor wines, drink a toast to the winemaker and his or her team. When we will be able to celebrate the fact that we live in a village where we are surrounded by beauty and talented residents who increase our quality of life through their creative products, be it delectable fare, beautiful crafts, charitable projects, exquisite gardens – and impressive wine.
In this, the first post from the McGregor Wine Meander for 2021 our wishes for a bountiful harvest are tempered by the severe limitations imposed on our wine farms, winemakers and workers. Not only are they prohibited from selling or distributing wine, but across the wide Breede river valley smaller producers are short of capacity to house the new wine, as they grapple with the problem of unsold litres from previous years.
Yet – we also know that wine farmers and producers are among the most resilient in the field of agriculture: perhaps because they share a passion for their products, because wine is more than a commodity: – it is the end process encompassing mystical qualities that shape and influence the creative abilities of humans. With wine one is never absolutely sure what the new vintage will offer…
As one of the few locals to have sampled the 2019 Lord’s Chenin Blanc – it’s great to announce that Jacie and his team have released a gourmet winner here, destined to titillate palates near and far.
It comes in a dark screwcapped bottle, and when poured, offers a tempting array of fruity aromas, dominated by stone fruit. On the palate, wafts of peach, a little apricot are nicely balanced with the structure or backbone of this Chenin, developed through 18 months in second- and third-fill oak before bottling. The wood is not intrusive and there is sufficient acidity to provide zesty freshness.
The Chenin is home-grown in McGregor, the alcohol levels at 14% add to the richness of the wine, without overwhelming it. This is an impressive example of what Chenin Blanc can offer us, given the TLC that many of the vineyards are now enjoying . It exhibits quality that confirms that – while we boast only a few wineries in our valley – they produce top class wines and a fine range of varietals.
It is also pleasing that the small McGregor district is now offering Chenin, both the earlier Lord’s which sold out fast and now a sophisticated cousin. In recent years Chenin Blanc has come to be widely regarded by top international experts as the most exciting white wine coming out of South Africa. Its former Cinderella status as a bulk wine largely produced as a base wine for brandy has been replaced by the fairy story finale as the belle of the ball. Chenin Blanc and Chenin blends have proved to be South Africa’s vinous queens, as ratings for our whites have leapt to the top of charts in Europe, America and even a reluctant Australasia. Among the champions are powerful barrel-fermented Chenin, sparkling and still wines, brilliant blends and sweet Chenins that have added prestige to our already renowned dessert wines.
Only 2 900 bottles of Lord’s Chenin were produced, so don’t leave it too long to book your share. They cost R130 which is a lot less than you can expect to pay for comparable quality in some other Cape wine regions.