South Africa, Stellenbosch; “SOUTH AFRICA is a world leader of Chenin Blanc. For a producer to be identified among the country’s best, therefore places it in the top echelons globally,” says Kleine Zalze cellarmaster Alastair Rimmer following the announcement of winners at the Standard Bank Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge.

This year’s Top 10 Challenge involved the blind evaluation of 124 Chenin Blanc’s from producers regarded as category leaders. This is the third year it has taken place and Kleine Zalze is proud to return to the Top 10 podium yet again, this time with two wines, the Family Reserve Chenin Blanc 2015 and the Vineyard Selection Chenin Blanc Barrel Fermented 2015.

The Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge is very important to us, says Rimmer. It represents the best of what SA has to offer when it comes to Chenin Blanc. It’s a huge honour.

The achievement re-affirms the excellence and consistency of wines from Kleine Zalze, one of the oldest farms in the Cape winelands. Diverse and unique terroirs combined with skilled viticulture and winemaking produce wines of character, complexity and balance

About the Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Chenin Blanc 2015

Family Reserve is Kleine Zalze’s flagship range. The grapes for these wines are selected from exceptional quality unique vineyard blocks. Only the best oak barrels are used for maturation and special attention is given throughout the wine making process. The Family Reserve Chenin Blanc is made in limited quantities and only produced in exceptional vintages

The Family Reserve Chenin Blanc 2015 was crafted from three different parcels and soil-types in Stellenbosch, each of which contribute to the layers of complexity. With meticulous attention to detail an exceptional wine was produced which is able to mature for up to 15 years. It has concentrated aromas of pear, white peach and fynbos with layers of citrus and honeysuckle on the palate. Elegant fruit and integrated French oak flavours provide a creamy mouth feel and a long, fresh, mineral finish.

About the Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2015

The 2015 vintage is widely recognised as having been exceptional. The grapes for the Vineyard Selection Chenin Blanc came from selected old, bush vine vineyards, with each site contributing different flavour profiles. This means that production is always limited.

Special attention and careful oak usage throughout the vinification process provide wines with flavour, complexity, structure and cellaring potential.

The result is a wine able to mature for up to 10 years. It reveals concentrated aromas of guava, litchi and sweet melon with subtle notes of oak. On the palate there is ripe fruit with hints of minerality. Subtle oak integration provides body and elegance to the finish.
The wine has wonderful depth and intensity without losing freshness and elegance, says Rimmer. “It expresses a great sense of place and highlights the wonderful sites it comes from.

He added that every achievement for Kleine Zalze is as a result of the hard work of a dedicated group of individuals.

It really is a huge team effort and includes administration and marketing. Special credit must be given to farm manager Henning Retief who nurtures the vineyards and gives us great fruit to work with in the winery, and also winemaker RJ Botha who has an unbelievable touch with Chenin Blanc and year-after-year makes amazing wines that never disappoint.

Prize money from the Top 10 Challenge will be invested in Kleine Zalze’s Fairtrade Project Fund, an initiative implemented to empower an assist employees to improve their livelihood. In 2014 Kleine Zalze’s vineyards were Fairtrade certified.

Kleine Zalze has celebrated numerous milestones this year, including 20 years under the ownership of managing director Kobus Basson as well as a raft of local and international awards, across its wine portfolio.

Kleine Zalze is situated on Strand Road (R44), Stellenbosch, South Africa. For more information contact Anthony van Schalkwyk, Marketing Manager at Kleine Zalze via e-mail AvanSchalkwyk@kleinezalze.co.za or visit www.kleinezalze.co.za