Chamonix Old Vine Chenin Blanc Strikes Coveted 95pt Rating in Decanter Magazine

A Chenin Blanc wine made from a 58-year-old vineyard planted on the mountain vineyards of Chamonix Estate in Franschhoek achieved a 95pt rating in the March issue of influential international wine publication Decanter. 

According to Chamonix winemaker Neil Bruwer the estate’s Old Vine Steen has had an exceptional run of ratings and accolades since its maiden 2020 vintage, underscoring the unique wine quality that can be achieved from South Africa’s old vine offering.

“Old vineyard wines definitely have a point of differentiation in terms of texture, structure and palate-weight,” says Bruwer. “In the case of Chenin Blanc, which represents the bulk of South Africa’s old vine category, the age of the vineyard allows the fruit nuances of Chenin to come to the fore while exuding that extra presence and complexity that allows the wine to command attention. We are extremely fortunate in having the aged beauty that is our Chenin Blanc vineyard planted in 1965 which, as I can attest to after harvesting it again this year, is still in fine fettle growing grapes of grace and personality.”

Neil Bruwer, winemaker at Chamonix Estate in Franschhoek.

Chamonix’s Old Vine Chenin Blanc vineyard is planted at 320m above sea-level in loamy apedal soil of sandstone origin. Farmed dryland, this vineyard comprises .58ha with just over 1 700 vines.

According to Bruwer, the Chamonix Old Vine Steen 2021 offers everything a wine-lover would expect from a white wine made from an old vineyard that has lived through a large part of the Cape’s wine history. “Working with the old grapes is an inspiration,” says Bruwer. “Tasting the wine is a revelation. Bright fruit-flavours, so characteristic of Chenin Blanc, are evident in the wine. The formidable palate weight, sheer presence and the enormous satisfaction the wine provides as a result of its old vine legacy, is marvellous to taste. And more so to be a part of. It is great to see South Africa’s old vine category performing well on the international stage as this is a one of the Cape’s unique offerings to the world of wine.”

Bruwer says the Decanter recognition for Chamonix and other Cape old vine Chenin Blancs underscores the fact that South Africa is a world-leader in this variety. “As the country with the largest plantings of Chenin Blanc vineyards on earth, which include a magnificent selection of intriguing wines made from old vineyards, South Africa has captured the imagination of the wine world with this sector,” says Bruwer. “It is an ambassador for what we represent as a wine country and will in time improve South Africa’s image as one of the world’s premium wine producing nations.”