Wine of Origin Stellenbosch

A complex expression of three mountainous vineyards, featuring shale, greywacke and granite soils. From vines planted as early as 1972.

100% Chenin Blanc
Winemaker: Jean Smit
Cultivar: 100% Chenin Blanc
Origin: Stellenbosch
Tasting notes:

A blend of three mountainous Stellenbosch vineyards. This wine is supremely expressive of these distinct sites and their soils of pure shale, Greywacke and granite. As with many old vine wines, the vanguard unfurls quite slowly, but it’s worth the wait. A kaleidoscope of aromas ensues; yellow apple, nectarine, lemon blossom, and honeysuckle. These are joined by more serious tones of gravel dust, mineral talc, and smoky flint. The palate is comprehensively textured, with apricots and chewy maroela fruit on the mid-palate, segueing into pithier white grapefruit. The tail end forms a supremely textured citric finish, with nuances of lime, quince, and nutmeg. As the wine warms in the glass, it reveals additional touches of white queen pineapple and naartjie. An impressively winding journey, best enjoyed at a leisurely pace.


South African Chenin Blanc can be expressed in so many ways, that, in some senses, a blend is the only way to touch on them all. The Damascene Stellenbosch Old Vine Chenin Blanc is a blend of fruit from three sites in the Bottelary ward: Sonop, Houmoed, and Mooiplaas. All three sites are situated on hilltops. The Sonop block was planted in 1982, on a slope of shale situated at the north-eastern extreme of the mountain range. It contributes to the minerality, elegance and acidic grip in the final wine. Houmoed’s extremely steep north-facing slope features old bush vines planted into Greywacke soils. These old vines (planted in 1972) add to the intense concentration of the component. Lastly, we farm a block at the very top of Mooiplaas, overlooking False Bay and Table Bay. This vineyard was planted in 1980 on a granitic outcrop with boulders dramatically strewn throughout the block. The cool west-facing slope delivers vibrance and freshness to the final wine.


The vineyards were harvested by hand from 17 February to 9 March, 2022. The fruit was picked at 20.9-22.8˚B before being chilled overnight at 8˚C. In the cellar, whole clusters were sorted and pressed with a delicate champagne-cycle. No enzymes were added during pressing, and minimal sulphur was used throughout vinification. The fruit from each vineyard was fermented and matured separately, and it is only during final blending that it is decided how much of each component will make it into the final wine. A small portion of fruit was fermented on its skins to enhance grip and complexity. The rest of the fruit was pressed, and juice was allowed to settle overnight. No commercial yeasts were added during fermentation, as only native yeasts were involved in the making of our wines. Roughly 30% of the way through fermentation, the grape must was transferred to 1000L oval-shaped Austrian oak foudres, followed by 11 months of sur lie maturation. This wine features some truly outstanding natural acidity, so we prevented malolactic conversion, as this would only serve to obscure that brightness. We also refrained from any batonnage (for the same reason).


This wine will be at its most expressive within three to five years of vintage but, with careful cellaring, will continue to evolve and improve for more than a decade. With extended bottle ageing, expect tertiary flavours to intensify, showing the true quality of old vine Chenin Blanc.


TOTAL PRODUCTION 3380 x 750ml and 50 x 1.5L | BOTTLING DATE 19 January 2023 | Alc: 13.14 % Vol | pH: 3.34 | TA: 5.7 g/L | RS: 2.5 g/L | VA: 0.52 g/L