2013 Naudé Old Vines Chenin Blanc


I deliberated between publishing this as a Vinous Favorite, since it retails for around a very affordable £30.00 per bottle, or as a Cellar Favorite. In the end, it had to be the latter, to ram home the point that despite the 2013 being ideal to crack open now, I would not hesitate to cellar bottles for 10 or 20 years – maybe more. Winemaker Ian Naudé is one of the unsung heroes of the South African wine scene, a quietly spoken man who shies away from the limelight and quietly goes about producing limited runs of stellar wines. I would place Naudé in the top tier of Cape producers, alongside Eben Sadie, Donovan Rall et al.

The 2013 Old Vines Chenin Blanc was poured blind at a lunch. I was garlanding it with praise before its identity was revealed. We were clearly in “serious wine” territory. The fruit comes from 35- to 50-year-old vines in Elgin, Paarl and Darling Pale, 100% whole bunch pressed directly into 500-liter new to third-fill barrels. The wine is kept on the lees for as long as possible and stirred once a week. Straw in hue, it offers brilliant definition on the nose, with sublime yellow plum, lanolin, quince, crème fraîcheand subtle nougat aromas, a judicious reduction binding the aromas together and lending focus. The palate is understated at first, opening with aeration to reveal dried mango, white peach, linseed oil, almond and ripe satsuma aromas. What I really adore is the seductive creamy texture and persistency on the finish. You immediately want to dive back in for another sip. Despite a bit of bottle age, you come away thinking that the 2013 is only on its opening chapter. Just a fantastic Chenin Blanc. 94/Drink 2020-2045.