Eric Asimof from The New York Times recently tasted a few South African Chenin Blancs with Florence Fabricant, Pascaline Lepeltier, wine director at Rouge Tomate, and Carla Rzeszewski, wine director of the Spotted Pig, the Breslin and the John Dory Oyster Bar.
They were expecting pleasant tasting, but it seems they were disapointed in general.
A few of the issues: “But many of the wines we tasted were hard to identify as chenin blanc. They lacked the signature floral, minerals and citrus aromas and flavors, often underscored by a suggestion of honey.”
“Sadly, many of the wines also lacked the structural hallmark of chenin blanc: great acidity.”
“What could the problem have been? Here, we must speculate. Were the wines excessively manipulated? That is, were the grapes lacking in balance, requiring winemakers to add acid, which can sometimes seem artificial, or carbon dioxide, which can lighten a wine and make it seem fruity, for a little while, anyway?”
luckily, just when I was getting a little ancious reading the article, things turned out alright for us: “Even so, we found some wines that we liked quite a bit, like our No. 1 bottle, the 2010 Secateurs from Badenhorst Family Wines in Swartland, which was full bodied yet well shaped and distinctly chenin blanc. Though it was not the cheapest among our top 10, it was our best value at $16 because we liked it so much better.”
Read the whole article here, it has some interesting insights.