2022 Craven 'Keribib' Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Chenin Blanc is a variety that Mick has always wanted to work with but was waiting for the right vineyard to land in his lap. Toward the end of 2015, Mick came across the perfect site in the Polkadraai Hills, called the Karibib Vineyard. Jozua Joubert planted the vineyard in 1981 on an east-facing block and has been working with the Cravens to bring it back to a more ‘natural’ state. Initially trained on a single wire, it has been ‘let go’ over time and now grows more like a bush vine. Mick refers to it as a “faux bush vine” vineyard. The vineyard sits in a unique pocket that is characterized by hilly topography and subsequently varying elevations, providing sites on elevations from 200 to 1,300 feet above sea level. Aside from the differences in elevation, the layered soils vary from granite-based on the higher elevations to the lighter, more sandy soils in lower lying areas.
The 2022 vintage marks a shift in the fermentation vessel for this wine. Whereas previous vintages of this wine used to be fermented in neutral oak, this vintage saw whole-bunch pressing to concrete “squares.” The juice was left to ferment naturally with full solids. It completed malolactic fermentation and it was then left on the lees for approximately four months before a single racking. In total it spent nine months in concrete before bottling. The wine is bottled unfined and sees just a light sheet filtration and a dash of sulfur before bottling.