A. Rupert 2014 “Protea” Western Cape (South Africa) Chenin Blanc ($14.99)

Protea Chenin Blanc

Very clear straw color with just a hint of brass. Good, characteristic Chenin aromas, subtle and hard to pick out … white fruit, maybe a hint of pear and fig, a whiff of beeswax, a faint heavy-floral note; it’s pleasant and appealing overall. Mouth-filling and medium-bodied, coats the palate with tart, rich white-fruit flavors with citrus overtones. Good, firm acidity. 13% alcohol, and at least nearly dry, only the juicy fruit giving a slight impression of sweetness. Its mouth-coating nature imparts an extremely long finish with a citric orange-blossom impression that takes a long time to fade. U.S. importer: Terlato Wines International, Lake Bluff, Ill. (May 4, 2016)

FOOD MATCH: This aromatic Chenin would go nicely with a range of poultry, fish or cheese dishes; it would fare well with spicy, not too fiery curries. It was excellent with a spring pasta dish, fettuccine with a pesto of fresh garden-picked spinach and arugula with walnuts, garlic, Parmigiano and olive oil.

WHEN TO DRINK: It’s absolutely ready to drink, but Chenin Blanc can be a worthy ager, so if you have access to good cellar conditions, it couldn’t hurt to set a few bottles aside to start sampling in five years or so.

VALUE: Excellent value for the price. Wine-Searcher.com lists a $16 average U.S. retail, but prices vary widely, to a low of $8.99 at one Florida store and many in the lower teens, so it may pay to shop around if direct wine shipments are available where you live.

The U.S. importer offers a short fact sheet on this wine here.

The wine bottle, by the way, is decorated with a stylish painted-on paisley-look pattern; all the details are on a removable “back label” with a link to an interesting page suggesting ways to reuse the empty bottle, with submitted photos of the bottle (or part of it) in use as a vase, a glass, an olive-oil container or what-have-you.

Check prices and find vendors for A. Rupert “Protea” Western Cape Chenin Blanc on Wine-Searcher.com.

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