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Out of the Frying pan and into the Fire
When Vine Venom winemaker Samantha Suddons first began conceiving her SILENCE Chenin Blanc, she had been inspired by the biologically-aged Sherry wines of Jerez, and so set about producing a Swartland rendition, produced with organically farmed Chenin Blanc grapes along with a three-tier solera system established in the heart of the Swartland’s Paardeberg ward.
But as the project developed, it occurred to her that perhaps she could avoid fortification entirely, and instead pursue a style of winemaking more closely matched to the Vin Jaunes of the Jura in Eastern France. These wines, usually made from Chardonnay or Savagnin, and often made both oxidatively and also matured under flor, delivery some wildly divisive flavour profiles that can boast notes of green olives, chamomile tea, apples, sourdough bread and roasted onions. What a party, right? Well, not everyone thinks so.
Samantha’s SILENCE bottling obviously trades out Chardonnay in favour of Chenin Blanc, and her fairly considered style of winemaking prevented anything from getting too crazy, but the end result is an enormously engaging and decidedly distinct Swartland expression that manages to appeal to both natty wine geeks and more mainstream wine cognoscenti equally.
Now 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 to see what I’m talking about. But until then, here are my tasting notes and some technical specs to further pique your interest.
👃🏼 A huge open complex nose of stewed yellow apples, ripe bosc pear, pickled ginger, cinnamon, and some leesy sourdough.
👄 On the palate there the sweeter yellow apple and pear elements sit right up against tarter apricot notes. But it’s certainly far from being all primary. there is a delightfully creamy texture to the wine, which has an ever so subtle butter toffee touch to it. Of course, all those sedate-sounding notes are completely upended by the lovely ginger and cinnamon spice which weaves through it all.