Glen Carlou, The Welder, Chenin blanc, WO Paarl, South Africa, 2012
Wine of Origin Paarl is north-east of Cape Town, correcting many web references that say north-west, which would put it in the Southern Atlantic. It is about 60km inland from Cape Town, adjoining WO Stellenbosch to the south. Exposure is northerly, with long hot summers requiring irrigation, moderated to a degree by coastal breezes, and cold wet winters. Soils are well-drained shale.
This wine: whole bunch pressed, macerated on the skins for 24 hours, then fermented in stainless steel, with no MLF; varietal chenin blanc, from very late harvest grapes, naturally sweet, natural cork closure, 10.5% abv, 375ml, Delilahs, £11
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, deep intensity gold, showing tears.
Nose: clean on the nose, of pronounced intensity, developing, with botrytised aromas of over-ripe quince, stewed overripe yellow peach and apricot, lightly high-toned rich orange marmalade, tropical notes of mango and papaya, warm damp hay, thick warm honey, rich dried citrus and butterscotch.
Palate: a sweet wine, with medium (+) palate cleansing acidity, medium (-) alcohol and a full body, medium (+) intensity, a smooth oily rich mouth coating texture, and a low-key grip (from skin contact), with flavours of ripe mango and ripe papaya, over-ripe yellow peach, and warm thick honey. A long length with a clean fresh lightly grippy tropical fruit infused finish.
Quality: a very good quality wine, full of rich ripe botrytised notes, with intense and concentrated flavours, evolving, with a rich tertiary dimension of hay, honey and butterscotch, culminating in a rich long length. Acidity perfectly matches the high level of residual sugar and low-key alcohol, leaving an almost perfectly clean palate on spitting. There is complexity, but this is not at a level for the wine to be classed as outstanding.
Readiness for drinking/potential for ageing: can drink now, but has the potential for aging. Acidity and residual sugar are well-balanced, with good flavor concentration, suggesting it is capable of further development and improvement with deepening tertiary notes over the next 5-10 years.