2012 Vins d'Orrance "Kama" Chenin Blanc Western Cape South Africa
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(aged for 11 months in third-fill French barriques): Light, medium yellow. Dusty, high-toned spices and ripe peach on the nose. Round, spicy and rich in the mouth; nicely dry and tactile, with flavors of grapefruit, lichee and menthol. Finishes broad and quite dry, with a medicinal reserve to its grapefruit and white peach flavors. Intense and uncompromising chenin blanc.
The 2012 Chenin Blanc Western Cape Kama shows bright star fruit, lemon peel, green almond and pear skin notes with a long, pure, stony finish and a kiss of salted butter. Fresh and almost brisk right out of the gate, it opens nicely as it airs in the glass, showing the richness that should develop with moderate bottle aging. (Blog, 02/2013)
I first tasted this wine during a blind panel tasting of South African whites at the San Francisco Chronicle with Jon Bonné. I was amazed by this wine's complexity and unusual aromas and layers of flavor that really set it apart from anything else in the tasting. The wine's most prominent characteristic to me is an intense savory, toasty leesy quality. It shows lovely toasted grains and freshly baked bread notes all complementing a solid core of ripe orchard fruits. The wine also has an unusual very slight oxidative note that I think really adds to the complexity and intrigue. It is by no means an indicator that the wine is maturing rapidly. I let the wine develop over three days in my fridge and it still showed brightness and purity. In fact I believe that the obviously oxidative winemaking process in play here may well have endowed this wine with excellent ageing potential. A complex and interesting wine for those seeking something more engaging to drink. (Ryan Woodhouse, K&L South African wine buyer) Winemaker's Notes: "38 year old vines planted in decoposed granite and shale. The wine shows exceptional concentration and complexity, through no shortness of richness and purity all held by fine natural acidity. Winemaker Christophe Durand believes strongly in true tradition, and his philosophy is to interact as little as possible with the grapes. Each cuvee reflects the Terroir and exudes elegance."