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Lievland Vineyards 'Old Vine' Chenin Balnc, Paarl, Western Cape 2021

  • $22.00
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Lievland Vineyards 'Old Vine' Chenin Balnc, Paarl, Western Cape 2021

Lievland, directly translated, means “Love Land” and there are few who come onto this historic Stellenbosch estate that isn’t charmed by its bucolic beauty. 20 years ago, Lievland was considered one of South Africa’s top wine estates.

The farm is situated in Stellenbosch, along what is referred to as the Simonsberg “Golden Mile” of wine estates. Along the way, this historic wine estate garnered several firsts: it is said to be the first to have a female winemaker and the first to produce a certified barrel-fermented Chenin Blanc.

  • Winemaker: Riaan Möller and Mahalia Kotjane
  • Farming: Sustainable (IPW Certified)
    Variety: Chenin Blanc
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From our 2023 Cellar Builder Club:

Lievland Old Vine Chenin Blanc, Paarl, Western Cape, South Africa 2021
Chenin Blanc is one of South Africa’s most successful grapes and is the most planted white grape in the country. Locally known as “Steen”, it occupies 18% of the nation’s vineyards. Lievland, which is Afrikaans for Love Land, is situated in the beautiful Western Cape countryside of Paarl. The main house on the property dates to 1865, and throughout its history, winemaking has been the focus. But it wasn’t until 2017 that MAN Family Vineyards revitalized this overgrown and long-neglected property. They restored not only the vineyards to their former glory but the name of Lievland as well.
For much of South Africa’s history, a state-controlled monopoly dominated the high-quantity, low-quality cooperatives that kept growers at subsistence incomes. And of course, a long history of intense racial segregation and apartheid resulting in global economic sanctions, which until the 1990s, kept South Africa as a mere blip in the world of fine wine. It is no wonder that it has taken a lot of time and effort for high-quality wines to make the journey to our shores.
This history of colonization and apartheid cannot be forgotten, and there (as in America), stories of thriving Black female winemakers are something worth celebrating. Winemaker Mahalia Kotjane has been endeavoring in wine since she was in high school, buying fruit from local markets and experimenting with fermentation at home. She enrolled in an agricultural university before finding her passion in Oenology. Together with Riaan Möller, they work to create modern, sustainable wines of grace and delicacy, showcasing the terroir of this bucolic slice of heaven.
Their Chenin Blanc is a beautiful expression of the cool climates and rocky soils that have put Steen on the map in the world of fine wine. The vines range in age from 38-45 years old, showing notes of cut apple, white peach, citrus pith, and pineapple on the nose. The mouthfeel is rich and ripe and is coupled with vibrant acidity and flinty minerality. It was fermented and aged in a mix of stainless steel and neutral barrel, bringing a bit of texture and bite across the palate that makes the wine satisfying and addictive. I love pairing this with fresh oysters, anchovies on toast, or confit tomatoes with tarragon on grilled bread. —Simi Grewal