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Thorne & Daughters


‘Cat’s Cradle’

Chenin Blanc   |   Swartland - South Africa


Swartland Chenin blanc needs no introduction, having long assumed its place among the world’s key expressions of Chenin blanc. Langkloof, where John sources the grapes for this wine is an old bush vine Chenin blanc vineyard planted on the granite slopes of the Paardeberg that belongs to the Roussouw family. John has worked with this vineyard for a few years but never had enough fruit to bottle a varietal Chenin Blanc, until 2017. The 2019 vintage saw little respite from the drought which had gripped the Western Cape over the previous few years. Low moisture reserves in the Paardeberg made for challenging conditions even in the best of years, and with a lot of attention to ensure that the grapes are ripe and healthy with sufficient acidity. John’s focus during harvest is picking times. If he can pick grapes at the right time, he can achieve tension and ripeness in the wine without the need to manipulate anything.

As with all of the wines…the winemaking is pretty simple. Handpicked, whole bunch basket-pressed direct to a single French barrique. No sulfur addition and fermentation kicks off naturally with ML following right after. A dose of sulfur in the winter and then again at bottling and that is the only small additive. After 10 lovely months the wine is racked to tank and bottled without fining or filtration.


  • Grapes: 100% Chenin Blanc
  • Vineyard: Langkloof Vineyard on the Paardeberg Mountain - farmed by Scholtz Roussouw
  • Vine Age: Average: 43-years-old
  • Soil Type: Weathered schist with sandy loam
  • Viticulture: Practicing Organic - dry-farmed
  • Fermentation: Native – whole-bunch pressed to a single old French tonneau
  • Skin Contact: None
  • Aging: 10 months in neutral French tonneau
  • pH: 3.29
  • Total Acidity: 6.1 g/L
  • Total SO2: 50 ppm
  • Total Production: 100 cases

Tasting Note

This is a very clear and bright expression of Chenin blanc, with aromas of oat cakes, malt and wet pebbles. In the mouth the texture is fine and long with notes of clotted cream and white nectarines.

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