Black Estate Home North Canterbury Chenin Blanc 2017 $45 5stars

The Naish family planted chenin blanc on their ‘Home’ vineyard back in 2011, and the vines thrive under the baking Waipara sun and those wild Nor’Easter winds. This is the fourth vintage made by their winemaker, Nicholas Brown, an obsessive fan of wines from the Mid-Loire Valley in France (where chenin and cabernet franc are the white and red heroes). This example is so finely tuned and yet intensely flavoured. Think freshly cut apple, activated almonds, hints of mineral salts, and with a crystalline complexity; it’s brisk and bracing to drink. Fresh yet creamy and crazy-good. Here’s how Nicholas did it: “12% of the harvested fruit was foot crushed, the rest whole bunch pressed over 4 hours. The juice was then drained to tank and transferred to 600L demi Muid and 500L puncheons without settling. It was then 100% barrel fermented using a Home vineyard yeast starter (that’s capturing the yeast cells in the atmosphere of the vines), before undergoing 100% Malolactic fermentation. Bottled un-fined and unfiltered with no added sulphites.” www.blackestate.co.nz

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