Wine of the Month – June 2012: The FMC (Forrester Meinert Chenin) 2010 (SA Wines Online £22.00)

June 15, 2012 9:04 am / by

I promise that I will stop choosing South African whites as my wine of the month soon!  But, having just finished my last bottle of the 2009, I could not resist choosing this iconic South African Chenin Blanc for my June wine.  The 2010 vintage has been included in the latest edition (2012) of the annual ‘Top 100 SA Wines’ and deservedly so.

Chenin is a seriously under-rated varietal.  It is also, arguably, the world’s most versatile grape.  It is sublime in the Loire where it is found in dry (sec), medium (demi-sec) and deliciously sweet versions (Moelleux) – the best of the dessert wines will age for many, many years.  South Africa is certainly the Loire’s rival and can produce some gloriously intense wines.  Unfortunately, most people experience generic South African Chenin as white wine by the glass in pubs – tasteless and instantly forgettable.  If you have been put off by such an experience it is time to try South African Chenin at its best – any you don’t get much better than The FMC!  It enjoys iconic status since the 2005 vintage gained 5 stars (the highest rating) in Platter’s Guide (the Bible for South African wines) and was voted one of the top 250 wines in the world by Wine Spectator.

The wine itself is often compared to good white Burgundy rather than Loire Chenins and has added complexity due to the addition of a small proportion of late harvest, botrytis affected, Chenin to the blend which consists primarily of old bush Chenin vines planted in 1967.  On the nose it has a pronounced bouquet with citrus, lemon curd and almond notes.  It is full bodied and very well balanced with complex flavours of dried apricot, vanilla and a touch of honey from the botrytis grapes.  Fabulous and serious wine!  The latest 2010 vintage can be drunk now but will benefit from additional ageing.  Enjoy!



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