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Kleine Zalze Wines Newsletter - Tim Atkin Report & The SA Top 10 Chenin Blanc Challenge


22 October 2019  -  Kleine Zalze Wines

This first ever Chenin Blanc international congress, which brought together the two largest Chenin regions in the world, South Africa and the Loire, was held in Angers.

The theme of the congress was Chenin Blanc in a Changing Environment and the aim was to increase the knowledge of Chenin internationally, particularly in relation to history, terroir, viticultural and winemaking research, and also wine tourism. Each day was divided into sessions covering a specific challenge and attempting to find a solution followed by vineyard visits in the afternoons.

The Chenin Blanc Association (CBA) and Dr. Hélène Nieuwoudt (Stellenbosch University) were both involved as supporting partners for the congress and very involved with the programme and the speakers. Forty Five South African chenin producers and researchers attended the conference which included two of Kleine Zalze Winemakers, Natalee Botha and Lizemari Geldenhuys. The congress was a powerful vote of confidence in Chenin. We hope it will become a regular event, with the next congress hosted in South Africa in 2021.

Tim Atkin Report

In his seventh annual guide to South Africa, award-winning British journalist and Master of Wine, Tim Atkin, contends that he was extremely impressed with the quality of the 2015 South African wines he tasted in 2019.

He adds that 2016 and 2018 were tricky vintages but the best wines from both years were impressive and there are still some 2015’s on the market (and a lot of 2017’s), which he would consider to be one of the best ever Cape vintages. According to Atkin, the South African wine scene has never been more vibrant or diverse and producers deserve enormous credit for that in the face of some challenging conditions.

Kleine Zalze once again received top scores ranging from 90 - 93 points from the esteemed journalist.

Kleine Zalze Chenin Blanc shines at The SA Top 10 Chenin Blanc Challenge

Kleine Zalze Wines was awarded, for not just one, but two of its Chenin Blancs in the 2019 Top 10 Chenin Blanc Challenge. This year’s line-up had an amazing 150 entries submitted by 87 producers.

This will be the second time Kleine Zalze found itself with two wines in the Top 10 Challenge following the Vineyard Selection Chenin Blanc 2015 and Family Reserve Chenin Blanc 2015 that made the Top 10 in 2016. 

This year Kleine Zalze was rewarded with a Top 10 position for its Vineyard Selection Chenin Blanc 2018 and Family Reserve Chenin Blanc 2018.

The judging panel comprised of five judges (including one international judge) and an associate judge. Panel members were:

Cathy van Zyl MW (Chair)

Richard Kershaw MW (Senior Judge - Richard Kershaw Wines)

James Pietersen (Senior Judge - Wine Cellar)

Joseph Dhafana (La Colombe Restaurant)

Fabien Laine from France (Ex-sommelier, wine judge, social media entrepreneur)

Associate judge: Penelope Setti (Chef’s Warehouse Restaurant)

Once again, all judges commented on the quality of the wines entered in the competition, which is indicative of the high quality of Chenin Blanc being produced in the South Africa.

Congratulations to our amazing winemaking team for this remarkable achievement.

Rose Rocks Wine Competition

‘Rosé Rocks!' is South Africa’s first dedicated rosé wine competition which seeks to recognise excellence in rosé winemaking and promote the SA Rosé category. Rosé is one of the fastest growing categories of wine in South Africa and internationally. In South Africa alone, sales have grown annually in double digits in the last few years. This is exciting for consumers and winemakers alike. In this year’s competition, Kleine Zalze was awarded a gold medal for both the Cellar Selection Rosé 2019 and the Cap Classique Brut Rosé NV.