Chenin Blanc & Cabernet Franc - a very happy South African pairing

I recently had the pleasure of embarking on a three-week journey to the Cape, a region renowned for its exceptional wines. It was truly fantastic to bask in the sunshine and more importantly witness the remarkable progress the country has achieved since my last visit in 2005.


The most noticeable change in the world of wine was how a fresh crop of young, creative, and energetic winemakers were approaching Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc. Whenever these two varieties came up in conversation, there was a distinct buzz of excitement.

Chenin Blanc has long been the signature white grape variety of South Africa - but there's a new vibrancy and experimentation around vineyard sites, cool climates, and choices between a more inland, mountainous granitic style versus the maritime salinity of cooler coastal strips
Check out Metzer, OldenburgOff the RecordMoordenaarskloof, and Coterie by Wildeberg for my favourite Chenins. At the budget end, False Bay and Painted Wolf give a good indication of what this grape variety can do in South Africa but the more premium examples show what value can really be achieved.
At the time of my last visit to the Cape, Pinotage was the signature grape and darling of the winemaking community, however, fast forward from 2005 to 2024, and the same group of young winemakers individually, but collectively got the message across to me, that Cab Franc was the variety to look out for in the future in terms of delivering value and making wines that they feel will beat any other reds that the world put up against them.
Favourite Cab Francs in our range - often blended, for me, are Oldenburg, de Toren, Beau Constantia (Lucca is just outstanding),  Hermanuspieterfontein and Coterie by Wildeberg.
These wines may not be the cheapest in our portfolio - but, in terms of value for money, are unbeatable for full flavours, complexity, depth & length.
Here's to my next trip - I won't be leaving it another 20 years!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published