If you know Chenin Blanc you probably think of French wine from the Lorie Valley or Languedoc-Roussillon. If you don't know Chenin Blanc or only know the French a great place to learn more about this grape is through the wines of South Africa for it is there that it has found great prominence and was the principal grape in the "white wine renaissance" of the South Africa .
Here is another Chenin Blanc we love called Essay which is a project of MAN Vitners of Stellenbosch, South Africa. It really knocked our socks off.
Man Vitners is the exciting venture of José Conde and brothers Tyrrel and Philip Myburgh who started making wine together in 2001 with a simple plan. "To make wine that we’d love to buy." They set out to produce "quality wine that offered excellent value" With their Essay Chenin Blanc they have certainly succeed.
We found Essay at Gary's Wines in Wayne. They describe Essay as having "Great QPR" an acronym that I had not heard before which stands for Quality Price Ratio.
They discovered the wine through Robert Parker called an earlier vintage "an awesome wine value"
John Visser, Wine Buyer, says "awesome wine value....Essay(95% chenin blanc/5% viognier)...dead-ringer for a dry tasty Loire Valley Chenin....what blows my mind....eight($8) measly dollars...full retail....incomprehensible how any wine this good could be so cheap...flowers and melons...all tank fermented and aged...I was knocked out by this wine's quality...would have thought $20 was an attractive price for it...but $8!"
We heartily agree. We found the wine to be beautifully balanced with deep easy going fruit and a wonderful stoney minerality.
The wine is made in on unirrigated land which makes the old bush-vine chenin blanc work harder and produce great flavors. The viognier adds floral and spicy notes and a soft, appealing richness to the palate. We love it.