Pilgrim Chenin Blanc 2021
Terroir & Site
Situated roughly 10km out of Wellington and Paarl, the Voor Paardeberg Region is a warm growing climate region. prevailing winds from the West Coast keeps the vineyard cool during summer, allowing for aeration in the canopy and air flow through the bunches thus preventing mildew from developing. The soil is made up of mostly decomposed sandstone and some granitic clay materials. The perfect soils for the Chenin Blanc.
2021 was earlier ripening than expected, added to the fact that these Voor Paardeberg vines are all dryland, there was never a doubt that it would be an early vintage for Chenin Blanc. While the rains during the winter of 2020 were good, it was also later than usual, and filled ground levels till later in the year, giving a result of lower soils temperatures and delayed budburst in the spring of 2020. With a few less growing-, or ripening days under the belt, the Chenin Blanc came in perfectly ripe at 22.5 balling, together with a fantastic natural acidity. Harvesting started on the 26th February 2021, all by hand. The grapes were transported in fruit bins to the Pilgrim Cellar for vinification.
After the grapes were cooled down, 50% of the production was whole bunch pressed, and the resulting juice the naturally fermented in 300L and 500L neutral French oak barrels. 40% of the production were destemmed, crushed and fermented on the skins until dry. Daily punch downs assisted in the concentrated extraction of the flavour of the skins. The wine was left on the skins for an additional 7 days after the completed fermentation. The remaining 10% of the production were left as whole clusters in the fruit bins and after crushing them by foot, left then to ferment naturally in the bins together with everything they brought directly from the vineyard. After completely drying, this portion also made its way into a 225L barrel. There 3 portions were kept separate and continually tasted. The maturation lasted for 9 months before the wine was blended and bottled and stored for another 9 months.
Golden light yellow with a slight green tinge. Sweet notes and some interesting earth tones emanating from the 10% whole bunch fermentation. Toffee and caramel aromas with some more perfumy notes of jasmine and elderflower. Balanced with sweet marmalade and bright pith on opposites, underpinned with finely tuned tannin and subtle acidity resulting in a focussed and long finish.
Any dishes with rich, deep flavours will be a superb pairing with this wine. Seafood and Chicken are especially suited.