Wine Review : Reyneke Natural Chenin 2016

Since it was introduced to me by my brother Ryan, Johan Reyneke has always been one of my favorite wine makers. He is known for his biodynamic practices that bring out interesting and unexpected flavors in his wines. Despite visiting his cellar once while Ryan still worked there and stopping by when I happened to be in Stellenbosch, I’ve never personally got the chance to meet Johan. Something I hope will change on our next trip down South.

The bottle bears the Reyeneke name laser cut into the bottle, a lovely detail and a trait that makes their bottles iconic. At least their reserve bottles anyway.

The wine has a straw golden color and is clear. Which, seeing as this is a natural, unfiltered wine, was a bit of a surprise.

On the nose at first the wine presents a certain tang, for lack of a better word. I’ve only ever smelled the same notes on a 30 year old Dom Perignon. Annabelle likened it to the scent of natural yoghurt but with deep, rich fruity notes.

The first sip is something awe inspiring. It fills my whole head. It is intense and vibrant at first with notes of caramelized yellow summer fruits, with some slight citrus hints and underlying salty stone. Mid way through hints of delicate nuts come through and it finishes with a light bitterness similar to tasting a peach stone. Just imagine eating caramelized peaches and apricots, drizzled with honey, topped with mascarpone and dusted with crushed biscotti. That is what this wine tasted like, excluding the sugar. This is a dry wine after all. The unmistakable flavor of Chenin Blanc does linger in the background but Johan has managed to pull so much more of of his grapes.

This is probably one of the most approachable natural wines I have tried. By approachable I mean it is not as funky or quirky as some other natural wines I have tasted. I know those traits are something that some natural wine lovers search out in natural wines and while this one may lack that, it is not any less unique, or perfect. Indeed, this is one of the best wines I have ever tasted. A wine that is so bittersweet to drink as I cannot stop. A unicorn wine in milleninal terms!

The wine does have a hefty price tag but is most certainly worth it. The production for this wine was small and therefore so were the allocations but if you are quick you might be able to grab a bottle from Daxivin, whom we have recommended before.