2020 Remhoogte Honeybunch
Grapes: 100% Chenin Blanc
Location: Simonsberg, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Winemaker: Chris Boustred
Approximate Retail Price: $30
Color: Clear and reflective, with a near dandelion hue
Aroma: Rich on the nose with hints of spicy oak, Meyer lemon, pineapple, honey, honeysuckle and honeydew melon
Taste: Bright acidity with tantalizing layers of ripe tropical fruits and flowers, with a long, spicy and weighted finish
Chenin blanc has been a staple varietal in South Africa since its earliest days and is usually known as steen. Whether from France’s Loire Valley, California, South Africa or wherever else one would dare to grow its signature grape, chenin blanc is usually represented as a light-colored, light-bodied wine. It has been known to be bone-dry, dry, sweet and even sparkling. Honeybunch from Remhoogte Wine Estate is a much richer, darker white wine, partially due to the ripeness of the harvest and partially from time in French oak.
Although little has been known internationally about South African wine, viticulture there has existed since the 17th century. Winemaking in and around Cape Town has known its ebbs and flows, with focuses on quantity over quality, with only 30 percent of the harvests going into wine and the rest being distilled into brandy, grape juice and table grapes. The wine regions of South Africa have gone through several attempts to improve quality and become more organized.
Finally, in the late 20th century, post-Apartheid, the wine industry of South Africa experienced a renaissance in both the quality of winemaking and international trade. To this day, the wineries and institutions governing the regions, wine laws and quality standards continue to improve and to focus on varietals best suited for the various climates and soil types.
The grapes for Honeybunch come from a single vineyard no bigger than 2 hectares (just shy of 5 acres) in Stellenbosch. They come from rows in the vineyard that experience early-morning sun exposure and high winds and are protected from the harsher afternoon sun. The grapes harvested are carefully selected for this wine, with extended maceration (letting the juice soak with the skins), slow fermentation in oak barrels with wild yeast and up to a year of aging before bottling.
Remhoogte – run by brothers Rob and Chris Boustred and their father, Murray Boustred – is a winery with the philosophy that believes real winemaking starts in the vineyard and therefore takes a minimalist approach in the winery, allowing the varietals and terroir to be at the forefront of the wine’s expression. Remhoogte winery itself has been producing wine since 1812. Chris Boustred took over the winemaking from his father in 2007 and continues the traditions and values of Remhoogte. The Boustreds also practice organic and sustainable farming, thereby keeping the vineyards and land around them healthy and productive.
Food Pairings: Roasted or grilled poultry, bacon, frisée salad with rich vinaigrette dressings, raw or cooked vegetables, French onion soup, soft cheeses and mild sausages all would pair wonderfully with the 2020 Remhoogte Honeybunch.
Certified Sommelier Stanley Browne owns Robust Wine Bar in Webster Groves.
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