Spier, a traditional take on Chenin Blanc & Pinotage

Spier Wine Farm is one of WineCollective‘s all-time favourite producers. Not only do they support their local community and arts, they practice sustainable and organic viticulture and make dynamite wine! We jump at the opportunity to spend time with the great people of Spier. On their most recent visit we were treated to a vertical tasting of 21 Gables Chenin Blanc and Pinotage with Cellar Master, Frans K. Smit


What you don’t already know about Spier

1. They are committed to sustainable viticulture. 95% of the waste produced by the winery is recycled or re-purposed, including 100% of their wastewater.

2. An on-site biodynamic vegetable garden uses organic waste from pasture and vineyards as fertilizer. Produce is harvested and served in the estate’s farm-to-table restaurant, Eight.

3. Working closely with their coopers, Spier has developed innovative barrels that blend different oak, experimenting with barrels built with French staves and American heads.

4. Cellar Master Frans, calls the 21 Gables Pinotage his ‘go-to’ wine. It is the perfect partner for South African dinners cooked commonly on an open fire.


Our notes on the 2010 – 2013 21 Gables Chenin Blanc.

All vintages were very expressive and evolved over the course of an hour. We recommend enjoying your Chenin Blanc slowly.

2010 showed the most bold aromas right out of the gate. Perfumed blossoms, bright citrus and lees. Marmalade on buttered fresh baked toast!

2011 was the odd-ball of the lineup, a little more closed on the nose with more savoury notes than citrus and tropical fruits. Pine nuts, raisin and mineral. It was a more difficult year for Chenin and produced a greater proportion of raisins.

2012 and 2013 were both fresh, lively and showed surprising acidity for the warmer vintage. The newer vintages will appeal to almost everyone, a great intro into the varietal if you are hesitant or not too familiar with South African wines.

Kleine Zalze Vineyards lowres_0

Stellenbosch, South Africa vineyards. 

Our notes on the 2009 – 2012 21 Gables Pinotage.

The vintage variation and progression of age of these wines make them super fun to try in a vertical! The 2009 was most bold and varried in aromas and flavour profile. A strong vintage, it produced ripe black currant, roasted cocao nibs, a bit of tobacco and 5 spice.

2010 saw an increase of new wood, up to 65%. The cooler vintage produced good acidity and a fresher fruit profile.

Where the 2011 Chenin was least impressive, the 2011 Pinotage was my favourite. Another cooler vintage, the earthy components balanced well with the freshly picked black berries.

2012 is still coming into it’s own, I found the fruit slightly closed behind the oak, but I assume with some more time in the glass this would have opened more. A bit more spice and herbacious-ness, white pepper and grilled herbs like bay leaves.

Spring 2016 will be full of Spier excitement at WineCollective. Stay tuned for new features and an opportunity to meet with the Spier team!