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Thorne & Daughters

2020

‘Cat’s Cradle’

Old Vine Chenin Blanc   |   Swartland - South Africa

About

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.  2020 was a relatively early harvest because of the hangover from the three-year drought, and it was not a year to wait around for high ripeness levels. The trial (with very few errors) of the previous three vintages really helped to nail this one.

As with all of the wines…the winemaking is pretty simple. Handpicked, whole bunch basket-pressed direct to old French barrels, larger ones in this case, with the gross lees. No sulfur addition and fermentation kicks off naturally with ML following right after.  A tiny hit of sulfur is added in the winter for light protection and then the wine ages between nine and ten months.  After this maturation time the barrels are racked to tank where the wine settles naturally and it is bottled without fining or filtration and just a small sulfur addition.

Stats

  • Grapes: 100% Chenin Blanc
  • Vineyard: Two blocks off of Langkloof Vineyard - farmed by Scholtz Roussouw (Aprilskloof, Paardeberg)
  • Vine Age: 41 & 46-years-old
  • Soil Type: Weathered schist with sandy loam
  • Viticulture: Sustainable - dry-farmed
  • Fermentation: Native – whole-bunch pressed to two old French demi-muids
  • Skin Contact: None
  • Aging: 9-10 months in neutral French barrels
  • Alcohol: 13.1%
  • pH: 3.35
  • Total Acidity: 6.2 g/L
  • Total SO2: 70 ppm
  • Total Production: 92 cases
  • UPC: 606110152433

Tasting Note

This is a very clear and bright expression of Chenin blanc, with aromas of poached pear, quince, lemon, thyme and wet pebbles. The palate is texturally oily but with a litheness, flavors of clotted cream on bisquits and white nectarines linger toward a stony and elegant finish.

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