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  • Zakkie Bester

Why Zakkie loves making a Swartland Chenin Blanc


Zakkie Bester worked as a cooperative winemaker for 38 years before he started BESTER Family Wines - his own venture, and an opportunity to make the wines he likes, in the style he enjoys.


As a born and bred Swartlander, he says that the wines from this singular region have always satisfied his personal taste preferences - perhaps because he was born to the area, and loves it so dearly.


"Swartland wines are normally a bit fuller and riper in terms of its flavour profiles, with soft, friendly tannin structures," he explains.


Zakkie has also always had a soft spot for a good Chenin Blanc, both as a winemaker and wine consumer, and has learned a lot about this cultivar over the years.


"After four decades' experience with my beloved varietal, I can now honestly say that Chenin Blanc grapes do not always have to yield light, fruity-style wines. If a winemaker knows what he or she is doing, they can coax all manner of inspiring wine styles from Chenin Blanc grapes - all of which can be of high quality and amazing character, depending of course that the grapes were well grown and tended to start with," he enthuses.


According to Zakkie, his aim with BESTER Chenin Blanc is to create a wine that has the potential to age in the bottle for three to four years and to better with age. This is one of the reasons why he chooses to use grapes from bush vine vineyards that are whole-bunch pressed in the cellar.


"Barrel aging helps a lot when it comes to making wine with maturation potential, but personally I don't like a wood-aged Chenin Blanc. So, to add some fullness to the palate, I rely on prolonged lees contact on the primary yeast lees. During this time, the wine's flavour profile goes through various stadia, and the winemaker needs to be on top of things to ensure that no unwanted characteristics develop."


Zakkie also likes to allow a portion of the Chenin Blanc to ferment naturally. This leads to a richer, creamier mouthfeel, and also gives the wine more maturation potential without having to resort to lactic acid fermentation.


BESTER Chenin Blanc 2020 offers uncomplicated quality for the connoisseur and novice alike. Packed with upfront tropical fruit, the bouquet charms with an abundance of lime, grapefruit, and white pear, followed by lingering wildflower aromas. These full fruit flavours follow through onto the palate, balanced by a crisp acidity and striking minerality. A fresh vintage with plenty of maturation potential.


Try it now! Place an order for delivery to your door by emailing Zakkie on zakkie@besterwines.com or calling 082 805 5586.

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