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Boschendal Chenin Takes Centre Stage

Lizelle Gerber, Méthode Cap Classique and white winemaker at Boschendal, sheds light on Chenin, the new Chardonnay Pinot Noir blush wine and the feats that led to her nomination as one of five vintners to be shortlisted for the Diners Club Winemaker of the Year award.

The illustrious 331-year-old Franschhoek estate has seen some significant changes and world-class improvements over the past decade and the world renowned winery now combines heritage and tradition with fresh, modern vision – to increasing critical acclaim.

The Winemaker Awards are the most prestigious awards on the South African wine calendar. This year’s awards will be presented at a gala dinner on 19 November. While other awards focus on the wine, the Diners Club Winemaker of the Year awards celebrate the skills, talent and dedication of those who actually make the wine. The Winemaker awards are now in their 36th year and Young Winemakers in their 16th.

In this competition, you were judged on your skill in producing Chenin Blanc – a varietal which is seeing a true revival in South Africa. You must be very proud of this achievement!

“Yes indeed, I am honoured, this has been a great year for Boschendal; Chenin is fast becoming one of the flagship wines of South Africa. While my nomination was based on the Boschendal 2016 Rachelsfontein Chenin Blanc, I am also delighted with the Boschendal Sommelier Selection wines, specifically the Chenin Blanc 2015 which won Gold at the Veritas awards and the Standard Bank Top 10 Chenin Award.”

And your skills were again acknowledged at the recent Platter Awards, it’s certainly been a great season for Boschendal!  “We received 4.5 stars for the Grande Cuvee Brut 2012 and the for our dessert wine, the Vin d’Or 2015 last night, this really has been an exciting year for our team, the best part is that such a wide variety of wine styles have been awarded within the Boschendal portfolio.”

We are seeing Boschendal move into new wine styles, tell us about the inspiration behind the new Chardonnay Pinot Noir blush wine – this looks like the perfect wine for summer!

“Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are two of my favourite wines to produce – both are traditionally also used in the making of Cap Classique which is a passion of mine. Bringing these two special varietals together in this elegant new wine – and using the same delicate techniques as I would use in making a Cap Classique – seemed like a natural progression. You can really see this wine as a still version of a sophisticated bubbly! ”

Please give us detailed tasting notes

“The wine’s created to be beautifully paired with food. It’s a wine finessed in flavour as much as it is in colour. A dry wine, with delicate red berry aromas, crisp, fresh taste upfront, with an elegant touch of creamy, smoothness and a complex finish. The blend is 61% Chardonnay and 39% Pinot Noir, and of the Chardonnay 20% is fermented in French Oak barrels. This gentle oak maturation imparts a final elegant touch of spice to the wine.”

How was this incredible colour achieved?
“This blush is the secret of perfect balance, patience and technique! The importance here was to create a ‘rose gold’ blush as opposed to ‘pink’, exuding the elegant sophistication of the wine and something that makes a statement”

Which dishes would this wine best be paired with?
“The Boschendal Chardonnay Pinot Noir wine is a sommelier’s dream as it is very versatile and only really limited to one’s imagination. It can be paired with many dishes from sushi, summer salads, grilled seafood or pork to Berry Pavlova for a really indulgent treat.”

In your opinion, how can the new appetite for rosé worldwide be explained?
“The rise of rosé can be attributed to the dream of the Southern French lifestyle associated with dry rosé in summertime, perpetuated by celebrities who have embraced the trend. Celebrity brands such as Whispering Angel and social media shares with hashtags such as #yeswayrosé and #roséallday have created a buzz around rosé. This Chardonnay Pinot Noir however is not considered a rosé and is closer to a still Cap Classique which is about elegance and sophistication. We like to refer to it as a delicate blush wine. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir integrate seamlessly on the palate which creates a lingering, smooth, textured finish.”

How does the Chardonnay Pinot Noir complement the existing Boschendal wine portfolio? How does it fit in? Is the idea to introduce Boschendal to a new audience?
“Boschendal Wine is about inspiring and enhancing quality moments – and our new Chardonnay Pinot Noir is a natural progression for us to introduce something that really encapsulates celebrating these moments. We believe it will certainly appeal to a wide wine loving audience – both new and existing.”

Great thank you for your time, we wish you all the best for the Diners Club Winemaker of the Year Awards – keep up the good work!
“Thanks so much, exciting times!”

For more information about Boschendal Wines, visit

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