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Craven

2019

“Karibib Vineyard”

Chenin Blanc   |   Stellenbosch - South Africa

About

Chenin Blanc is a variety that Mick has always wanted to work with but was waiting for the right vineyard to land in his lap. Toward the end of 2015, Mick came across the perfect site in the Polkadraai Hills, called the Karibib Vineyard. Jozua Joubert planted the vineyard in 1982 on an east-facing block and has been working with the Cravens to bring it back to a more ‘natural’ state. Initially trained on a single wire, it has been ‘let go’ over time and now grows more like a bush vine. Mick refers to it as a “faux bush vine” vineyard. The vineyard sits in a unique pocket is characterized by hilly topography and subsequently varying elevations, providing sites on elevations from 200 to 1,300 feet above sea level. Aside from the differences in elevation, the layered soils vary from granite-based on the higher elevations to the lighter, more sandy soils in lower lying areas. 2019 marked the end of the harsh drought that plagued much of the Cape and yet it was this year that really produced wines of great finesse and concentrated fruit notes, given the lowest yields in Stellenbosch’s history prior to additional sorting in the cellar.

The grapes are hand-picked and immediately whole-bunch pressed to neutral 500L barrels, where the juice is left to ferment naturally with full solids. It completed malolactic fermentation and is then left on the lees for approximately four months before a single racking. In total it spent nine months in barrel before bottling. The wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered, with nothing added during the winemaking process apart from a dash of sulfur.

Stats

  • Grapes: 100% Chenin Blanc
  • Vineyard: Karibib Vineyard
  • Vine Age: 37-years-old
  • Soil Type: Weathered granite
  • Viticulture: Practicing Organic
  • Fermentation: Native – neutral 500L French tonneau
  • Skin Contact: None
  • Aging: 9 months in neutral 500L French tonneau
  • pH: 3.32
  • Total Acidity: 5.9 g/L
  • Total SO2: 40 ppm
  • Total Production: 350 cases

Tasting Note

It has a clean, quite pure bouquet of well-defined stone fruit, melted wax and dandelion scents. The palate is well balanced, with a saline entry and perfectly judged acidity. I like the focus here, as well as the waxy texture toward a finish that lingers in the mouth. Superb.

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