In the short three years that Banele has been bottling wines under his Tembela brand, he’s had two different white wine releases. In 2020, he released Verdelho, which will always hold a special place in his heart because on a day he was visiting the vineyard, he got the call that his mother, Tembela, had passed away. All seasons come to pass; Banele wasn’t able to secure the Verdelho vineyard for a second vintage, and thus turned to Chenin Blanc. Yet in 2022, Banele managed to get enough fruit for 70 cases of Verdelho from the certified organic Longridge Wine Estate in Stellenbosch. Planted on granitic soils, this 22-year-old vineyard produces immaculate fruit with verve and concentration.
The grapes were 100% whole-bunch pressed and then the juice was allowed to settle overnight in stainless steel. The clear juice was racked off the solids, and then was sent to an old 600L barrel for fermentation. The wine stayed there for 13 months on the gross lees. Bottling followed without fining and just a light sheet filtration and a 36 ppm dose of sulfur.