Cat’s Cradle 2019

Old Vine Chenin Blanc

Tasting Notes

Swartland Chenin blanc needs no introduction, having long assumed its place among the world’s key expressions of Chenin blanc. Langkloof, where we source our 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.

An enormous amount of work goes into the vineyard during the growing season to ensure that the vineyard can carry a healthy and balanced crop. Picking was done with a clear eye on the acidity of the crop which can fall away dramatically during the harvest due to low water reserves in the soil.

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.

Nuts & Bolts

Chenin blanc – Swartland – 40 year old vineyard on decomposed granite

WO Swartland
Alcohol – 12.86%
Residual sugar – 1.60 g/L
Total acidity – 6.1 g/L
pH 3.29

About The Wine

The 2019 vintage saw little respite from the drought which has gripped the Western Cape over the last few years. Low moisture reserves in the Paardeberg make for challenging conditions even in the best of years, and we pay a lot of attention to ensure that we can harvest ripe, healthy grapes with sufficient acidity.  Our key focus during harvest is picking times. If we can pick grapes at the right time, we can achieve tension and ripeness in the wine without the need to manipulate and “dress-up”the wines.

Chenin blanc on granite is something that we have worked with for all the years that we have been making our Thorne and Daughters wines, and this wine made its debut with the 2017 vintage bottling. A small crop in 2019 delivered ample concentration in the wines and great “drive”.

As with all of our wines, the winemaking is incredibly simple, as we have no desire to stand between the vineyard and its expression as a wine in the glass. The grapes are whole-bunch pressed in an old basket press and there are no additions of sulphur dioxide made on the juice. A rough settling follows pressing after which the wines undergo natural alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in old oak barrels. We add some sulphur dioxide late in the winter, and then again at bottling, keeping the level of sulphur dioxide as low as possible. The result is wines that show tension without losing their suppleness and core, and wines that will reward time in the cellar.