As we head into the deepest core of summer, I like my wine to change like the sun: bolder, more intense and filled with sun-ripened juiciness. I recently discovered Kunjani Wines‘ Chenin Blanc 2018, sparking joy for true South African al-fresco summer feasting.
Kunjani Wines has been on my radar for the longest time, as the latest addition to the Bottelary Hills sub-route of Stellenbosch. They snuck into my socials with a story about a stolen chicken and a stunning bottle of Pinor Noir Rosé, but that’s a story for another day. I was absolutely delighted when I was gifted a bottle of Kunjani Chenin Blanc 2018 a few weeks ago, just in time for a lazy Saturday braai banquet.
Paul Barth & Pia Watermeyer, husband-and-wife team and owners of Kunjani, have created a contemporary and soulful establishment that reflects cross-continental influences like no other in the Winelands of the Western Cape. It is here where good food, fine wine and luxurious accommodation combine to truly reflect the good life … and the true character of this spectacular place where love and passion are reflected in every creation (https://kunjaniwines.co.za/).
Kunjani Chenin Blanc 2018
A beautifully intense Chenin Blanc, showcased in an equally beautiful bottle, this offering caught my eye for all the right reasons. Suitably alluring in its dark mantle, it’s filled with summer scents and memories of carefree holidays.
I decided this Chenin Blanc would be the perfect match for The Tall Hedonist‘s one pot whole roasted chicken, so whilst he basted the fowl and lit the fire, I chilled the wine.
Tasting notes: Light straw colour with a deeper core. The palate entrance is smooth and fresh yet has the fullness to cut through the acidity. Baked apple and ripe yellow fruit fill the palate followed by lime and a light viscosity that adds to palate weight. The wine lingers with a burst of flavours and depth of structure.
In the vineyard: Harvested from Paarl and Wellington. The two blocks ripened at different times, offering good blending options.
In the cellar: This Chenin Blanc is made in an oxidative way. The result is more structured, and the riper spectrum of flavours is displayed in the final wine. Both tanks were fermented at 15 to 16°C with a pure yeast culture. After fermentation, the yeast lees were stirred twice a week for 2 months, adding to the palate weight.
Ageing potential: This Chenin Blanc has the potential to age for up to 5 years. The oxidative winemaking regime and extended lees contact will aid in the development over the next few years.
Cellar door price: approx. R130
The Little Hedonist’s food pairing suggestion: As mentioned, we planned an indulgently lazy Saturday afternoon meal. I lounged under the shade of the vines with my bottle of Chenin Blanc in an icy bucket, whilst The Tall Hedonist kept a watchful eye over our chicken and veggie pot. Slowly baking on the side, snuggled between the coals, were two loaves of corn and beer bread, steaming under their foil blankets.
I reluctantly allowed The Tall Hedonist to add a few splashes of my Kunjani Chenin Blanc to the pot, which intensified the fruity flavours of the marinade and tenderised the chicken, filling the braai area with the most mouth-watering aromas.
We pulled the meal together around the dining table – crispy slices of fresh bread, char-roasted vegetables, two glasses of icy Chenin Blanc and a beautiful bird.
Feel free to also pair your Kunjani Chenin Blanc with pan-fried seafood, like white fish fillets with spring vegetables or salt and pepper squid tentacles. A great addition to light risotto’s or vegetarian filled pasta dishes. It loves any fruit components and can also hold its own against delicate sushi or egg dishes.
My first experience of Kunjani Wines excited me immensely. It’s been a while since I tasted a Chenin Blanc that left me wanting more. The Tall Hedonist was completely smitten with this silky Chenin, and his food pairing was spot-on. We were equally excited about the opportunity to visit the farm soon, but that is truly another story for another day…so keep your eyes peeled!
Thank you, Kunjani, for allowing us to take the time to sit back, enjoy the sun, and the beautiful fruits of your harvest.
Disclaimer: I was given this product(s) as part of a press drop in exchange for my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated / credited, are also my own.
The Little Hedonist endorses responsible drinking.
Don’t drink and drive. Not for persons under 18.