The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2018

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38  /  the tasting panel  /  september 2018 BRAND PROFILE A lot of people in the wine business are still waiting for South Africa to finally become the "next big thing," but the country always seems to get leapfrogged by other emerging wine- producing regions that perhaps haven't quite paid their dues the way South Africa has. That hasn't discouraged brands like Mulderbosch, which has always been considered one of the country's foremost wine producers. Now, after a quick reshuffle in ownership, it's added top South African wine- maker Adam Mason of Klein Constantia; the winery's focus remains, however, on Chenin Blanc (or "Steen op Hout"), which was first planted 300-plus years ago in South Africa. The variety has since morphed into a distinct expression of Chenin unlike that of France's Loire Valley or any other winegrowing region, according to Mason, who recently brought some new bottles to Los Angeles for lunch at Kali Restaurant in Hollywood. "Chenin Blanc, with its history, is simply available to tell the South African tale better than any other variety," Mason said. While Mulderbosch has always offered a rock-solid and somewhat iconic bottling of Chenin sourced predominantly from Stellenbosch, Mason has developed an additional single-vineyard series of Chenin from three separate vineyard blocks to express the wide breadth and scope of the variety in the area. Each block is vinified simply with whole-bunch pressing and neutral-oak maturation. The Vineyard Block A bottling reveals the fruity aspect of Chenin with quince, dried apricot, and citrus, while Vineyard Block S2 is characterized by a lanolin-like texture, touches of hazelnut, and bracing minerality. Vineyard Block W, with its close proximity to the ocean, has a saline, briny quality and bright, sharp acidity. While the resulting wines emerge as stunning and distinctive expres- sions of site-specific terroir, they also fill a niche as high-end, South African white wines that are both sophisticated and cool. "We have some of the oldest vineyard soils in the world, and culturally we have strong ties to Europe," Mason says. "I always say South African wine is truly unique: We display elements of classic Old World structure and restraint whilst celebrating the virtues of New World generosity and approachability." South Africa's Storied Grape MULDERBOSCH GOES BACK TO ITS ROOTS WITH ITS NEW CHENIN SINGLE-VINEYARD SERIES by Albert Letizia Mulderbosch Winemaker Adam Mason.

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