The two main areas in the world where Chenin Blanc is grown are in the Loire Valley in France, and in the Cape winelands, South Africa.
France have 10,000 ha and the Cape has 20,000 ha planted. It is believed that the first plantings of Chenin Blanc in South Africa were made by the French Huguenots, fleeing France after the Edict of Nantes in 1685 and emigrating to the Cape.
The Vine is semi-upright with good shoot growth. The climate of the region will determine whether the wine is made in a slightly sweet or dry style, while the soil type will result in low or high tonnages.
At Rijk’s we have planted bush vines, producing low tonnage fully concentrated grapes. And open trellis vines producing very fruity grapes.
Chenin Blanc is harvested early in the season before any late summer heatwaves thus ensuring quality fruit.
Vineyard management is critical in the growing season to prevent over cropping with too many bunches. Shoots are thinned and topped and leaves broken out to allow sun and light to penetrate the leaves and berries.
Chenin Blanc should not be over irrigated and irrigation is only applied at budburst, flowering, veraison and 3 weeks before harvest.
Rijk’s have low yielding well drained vertical shale soils perfect for excellent quality bunch development.
In the Cellar
In the cellar grapes are harvested at night to retain freshness and flavours. Then gently crushed and pressed. 20% of the juice is cold fermented in tank for freshness and fruit, and 80% is fermented in French and Hungarian barrels. 30% is fermented with natural yeast.
The wine is then aged for 11 months in oak, blended and then bottle aged in the cellar under controlled temperatures to allow the wine to settle and mature.
Wine Analysis over last 10 years
|Alcohol||13.5 – 14.5 %|
|Acidity||4 – 5 g/l|
|ph||3.2 – 3.3|
|Residual Sugar||6 – 8 g/l|