Silwervis, Chenin Blanc 750ml 2016South Africa, Swartland
Whilst staying true to his philosophy of innovation and experimentation in the cellar, and utter dedication in the vineyard, this year’s Smiley Chenin Blanc V4.0 NV, Smiley Red V3.0 NV as well as the Silwervis Chenin Blanc 2016 and Silwervis Cinsault 2016 have taken an elegant turn. The wines are more precise and focused, whilst retaining their fantastical and idiosyncratic nature.
As ever, the Smileys are excellent value for money. The Silwervis Chenin Blanc 2016 is a lush wine representative of the dry 2016 growing season, with nuances of dried herbs and a characteristic texture and body that shows its 12 months ageing on lees. Made in the original concrete egg bought at the Swartland Revolution in 2010.
The Chenin Blanc grapes are sourced from a single vineyard planted in 1964 located on the decomposed granite soils of the Paardeberg. Harvest is done by hand and the grapes are whole bunch pressed into stainless steel to start fermentation. Once the juice is finished fermenting the wine is then transferred to a 670L Nomblot concrete egg where the wine matures for 12 months un-disturbed. The shape of the egg allows for gentle stirring of the wine without interruption. The wine is then transferred to a stainless steel tank for one year further maturation before bottling.
'The 2016 Silwervis Chenin Blanc (which, incidentally, has a fantastic devil and mermaid themed label, though I suspect the US authorities would ask the topless mermaid to put on a couple of seashells) is pure Chenin Blanc matured in a concrete egg and one old oak barrel. Its wax resin, dried peach skin and sea cave bouquet brings you to the sea in the same way as a Galician Albariño or a fine Muscadet. The palate is fresh and taut on the entry and has a gorgeous waxy texture and notes of orange pith, dried apricot and mango, but this Chenin is more about the texture and that tang of ginger on the finish. Excellent.' – Neal Martin Report 2018, 92/100
'Made from a Paardeberg vineyard planted in 1964. Matured in concrete egg for 12 months followed by a further 12 months in tank. Naartjie, orange, stone fruit plus some yeasty complexity. The palate is rich, broad with moderate acidity and a savoury finish. Super-tasty but idiosyncratic as ever. Alcohol: 13.5%.' – Christian Eedes, Winemag.co.za, 93/100
'The nose presents with floral notes of jasmine, lemon peel, fennel and clove spice notes and high notes of musk, forget-me-nots and lilac. The texture of the wine is rounded but delicate with a weighty, slightly waxy finish. Notes of saline, mineral and iodine are characteristics picked up from the terroir of the granite soils which compliment the fruit driven flavours of citrus, apricot and raw almond waxyness familiar with Chenin Blanc off old vines. Drink now until 2030. Best paired with fresh salads, tapas style meals of olives, charcuterie, and cheeses or light meat dishes such as chicken, pork and pastas.' – Winemaker
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More Wines from this producer
AG: Antonio Galloni of Vinous.com | AM: Allen Meadows of Burghound.com | CE: Christian Eedes of Winemag.co.za | DEC: Decanter | GS: Greg Sherwood MW | JR: JancisRobinson.com | NM: Neal Martin of Vinous.com OM: Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show | PG: Platter's Guide | TA: Tim Atkin MW | WA: Wine Advocate | WE: Wine Enthusiast | WS: Wine Spectator