#270 Pilgrim Chenin Blanc 2021
VIDEO CHAPTER INDEX:
00:00 – INTRODUCTORY MUSINGS
00:34 – BACKGROUND ON HENRY KOTZE?
00:51 – JUST A FEW OF HENRY’S ACHIEVEMENTS
02:30 – A QUICK PITSTOP IN THE VOOR-PAARDEBERG
03:20 – A CLOSER LOOK AT HIS PILGRIM CHENIN BLANC
04:55 – HOW WAS THE WINE MADE?
Pilgrim or pioneer?
Pilgrim wines is the side project of pioneering winemaker Henry Kotze. Henry’s day job is as the cellar master for the Stellenbosch estate of Mulderbosch, but Pilgrim is the label where he gets to freely express is more adventurous approach to winemaking.
When one takes time to look at Henry’s career, it becomes clear that he has been a high impact figure on the South African wine industry; not least of all because of his pioneering work with unusual cultivars.
Breaking new ground
Henry was also the first person to vinify and bottle a Bastardo do Castello (or Trusseau) in South Africa, and was ALSO the first person to vinify and bottle Viura / Macabeo in South Africa, and was ALSO the first person to vinify and bottle Vermentino in South Africa (under the Ayama label).
Henry was the cellarmaster at Morgenster, where he was again in a pioneering role, developing Morgenster’s Giulio range of Italian Cultivar wines, including an exemplary Nebbiolo, a Super Tuscan style blend, a Sangiovese, and, Vermentino.
And in case you thought he was just a show pony doing parlour tricks with weird fringe wines, his classics are also sublime, and just as his current Cabernet Franc is podium worthy, his Bordeaux blends at Morgenster also raked in awards, not least of all when his Lourens River blend won the 2020 Old Mutual Trophy for Best Bordeaux Blend in South Africa.
If you have yet to sign up for your Monthly HanDrinksSolo Wine Subscription then you’ll have to hunt this wine down in your own time. But until then, here are my tasting notes and some technical specs.
👃🏼 The nose is fascinating mix of aromas that includes a fairly classic white peach note, along with a touch of apple blossom, ginger, and then far moodier elements of savoury gun smoke, and crushed gravel. If one does the “empty glass” test, there is also a sort-of toffee apple candy thing that emerges.
👄 The palate brims with incredible green apple acidity, which takes you completely by surprise. Beneath that apple element there are those more classic elements of white peach, but its never showy; it is almost more about the texture and palate weight, as it is about fruit flavours. It manages to be very vivd and concentrated, without being sweet.
And speaking of texture, there is this amazing citrus pith thing that emerges as the palate progresses. The finish is a culmination of green apple, quince, citrus, and that ginger spice, all wrapped up in this dry lime pith envelope.
100% Chenin Blanc. Wine of Origin Voor-Paardeberg. 50% of the wine was whole-bunch pressed, and barrel fermented in a mix of 300-litre barrels and 500-litre barrels. The other 50% was fermented on skins (with 10% of that skin ferment being made up of whole-bunch grapes). The skin-contact portion was then matured in 225-litre barrels. Total maturation was 9 months, with another 9 months in bottle.
Alcohol: 12.5 % | pH: 3.51 | Total Acid: 5.6 g/l | RS: 2.3 g/l
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