2011 Mulderbosch Western Cape Chenin Blanc, South Africa $4.99

Silverdale, WA    13.5% alc.    (Purchased on 10/6/14)

The word Steen is noted on the front strip label…the name that South African’s give to Chenin Blanc (the most widely-planted variety in the country).  I’ve had a number of Mulderbosch wines over the last 20 years and their Sauvignon Blanc and Rose’ are some of my favorite South African wines.  So finding one in GO seemed a “for sure” buy to me.

IMG_1785Brilliant medium golden color.  Very fragrant nose that also shows wafts of sulfur that eventually blow off with swirling.  Then the aromas include white peach and lime.  In the mouth there’s some heat (that provides a slight burning sensation) and bitterness on the front of the palate and then the flavors show more white peach, grapefruit, grapefruit pith and bitter almond, pear and spicy light oak.  Has a Viognier like richness that I often perceive as flabbiness, though the acidity’s not bad.  The wine is more dry than not.

My preferred style of Chenin Blanc is more fruit and little or no oak.  Give me Vouvrays or the few WA state Chenins that are still out there.  Had I tasted this blind, I’d have likely guessed a dry Pinot Gris, as the pear flavors really come on strong in the finish.  So if that sounds enticing, give this a try.  One bottle was good for me, thanks.  Let me add that two days later with the one third full bottle sitting on the counter with only the screw cap back in place…it tasted much better.  It was mellower and the oak had faded more to the background.


7 thoughts on “2011 Mulderbosch Western Cape Chenin Blanc, South Africa $4.99

  1. jwc

    I enjoyed this Chenin Blanc also, definately more of a food wine. I recall Charles Krug making a very good Chenin Blanc in the 70’s & 80’s, have not seen it in Oregon since having moved up here. Plenty of the Mulderbosch around town, here in Portland. Would like to see the Pine Ridge, sure hope it makes its way here. That white blend of chenin and viognier is always well made, and at that price a great value. What is the vintage on that SB? Very well could be a nice white on the Thanksgiving table. Thanks all!

    1. seedboy

      it is a 2008 or 2009, but does not show age. I have found it only at the San Leandro store, and that store has a number of wines I have seen only at that store. I attribute that to its having been owned by Benny, who has, over the years, bought wines on his own for the stores he owns or manages. (Benny no longer owns that store, I beliefve, he is now managing the Petaluma store)

  2. seedboy

    I liked this wine. The San Leandro store has had the Pine Ridge Chenin/Viognier for $4.99, it is, to me, marred by the hyper-fruity viognier.

    1. lim13 Post author

      I’ve always enjoyed the Pine Ridge, SB. But then I believe I prefer more fruit than you; just personal preference. I’ve still got one bottle of the 2008 in the cellar, but that’s the last vintage I’ve had. Regular retail here has never been more than ten bucks.

  3. palfrey12

    I got this at 4.99 in Marina and Seaside GO’s. It immediately reminded me of a solid Vouvray and I bought a case, considering it was 75% cheaper than the french version. I rate it a very good wine for food, too dry for a sipper. It serves as an outpost in the battle to bring Chenin Blanc back to American tables from its present ignominy.

    1. lim13 Post author

      Thanks for the second opinion, Palfrey. Interesting because it reminded me little of the Vouvrays I love…those that contain the slightest bit of residual sugar and just a trace of or no oak. I couldn’t agree more with your food wine comment or the fact that Chenin Blanc has been pushed aside for other varieties here in the US. I’ll be curious to see if it’s revived and if it’s this drier style or the off dry style that leads the revival.


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