Wine of the Week: Usana barrel fermented Chenin Blanc 2012


Elgin Chenin Blancs are like buses: nothing for ages then along come two together. The first was Cathy Marshall’s Amatra 2012 (retail R91) at Auslese last Tuesday and on Thursday JP Winshaw’s Usana 2012 with a grilled cauliflower and cashew nut soup with truffle oil at Birds on Bree Street.

photo 38 e1359018511844 300x224 Wine of the Week: Usana barrel fermented Chenin Blanc 2012

The Winshaws (JP walking eggs in Clarke’s Bar & Diner, above) were the family who brought SA Stellenbosch Farmers’ Winery whose successor Distell today, as expected, announces the purchase of Burn Stewart Distillers, producers of Bunnahabhain, Black Bottle and Scottish Leader and a major player in the Taiwanese whisky market.

This R2.2 billion deal is another feather in the well adorned cap of Distell CEO Jan Scannell whose spirited vision has saved Distell from over-reliance on wine, a lack of vision which tripped up competitor KWV. Although informed sources say KWV is about to invest big in RTDs, flavour of the month among younger consumers, which explains the spike in SA bulk wine exports to Italy.

JP’s Chenin is made from grapes grown on his uncle’s Elgin farm and has serious palate weight of fine citrus fruit with an oily mouthfeel. One third barrel fermented and matured, Elgin is pioneering an impressively tight and elegant style of Chenin Blanc a million miles away from the Stellenbosch benchmark. The wine is a bit like jazz played by Thelonious Monk as opposed to Miles Davis popular in Swartland cellars. Confirmed by the Diam corkamorimcork Wine of the Week: Usana barrel fermented Chenin Blanc 2012
by Amorim Cork
which features a butterfly – or is it a moth?

Which summons the shade of Pannonica “Nica” de Rothschild (pannonica is a moth) who was the muse of Theolonius as documented in the unputdownable biography The Baroness by Hannah Rothschild. Although Black Bottle would probably have been more up the smoky street of Theolonius and Nica.