Francois continues to produce one of the most outstanding values for South Africa’s most important grape. While being the most important grape, Chenin Blanc still has an ‘underdog’ personality as it pales in global importance to Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and even Riesling. A shame, truly. Since its first vintage, the Underdog has been a single-vineyard wine with a focus on drinkability, showing the elegance that is possible from select Swartland sites. The 2022 continues with the same old-vine site as 2021, the Knolfontein Vineyard. This site is just north of the Kasteelberg, and it’s a site that has been a small part of the blend in the past. The dry-farmed bushvines bring a saline element and fruit intensity that the wine has never seen, all with brilliant acid.
The grapes were hand-harvested in late-February and whole-bunch pressed to stainless steel tank where the lots underwent spontaneous fermentation. The wine stayed in these concrete vessels for 10 months of aging on primary lees. The lots are then blended in tank, and bottled with a coarse filtration and dosage of sulfur.