2019 Paulus Wine Co. Chenin Blanc Bosberaad 


I thoroughly enjoyed Joaquin Hildago’s recent article on collectible Argentinean wines, and it got me thinking about parallels with South Africa’s own collectibles. It’s not just Bordeaux and Burgundy. South Africa has a thriving collectors’ market for pre-apartheid bottles, some of which have attained mythical status, old vintages of Pinotage from Lanzerac or Château Libertas and so on.

What about future collectibles of wines being released right now?

South Africa is batting the ball out of the park in terms of quality, quality that is not being necessarily recognized around the world because of myopic views and misconceptions about the country and its wines. This future collectors’ market has all the ingredients. First and foremost, there are fabulous wines with cellaring potential. There are fascinating aspects about terroir and old dry-farmed bush vines, a new breed of charismatic winemakers, meticulous non-intervention winemaking techniques, limited productions and some eye-catching label designs, including this one. And there is one more crucial factor underlying their success. Their raison d’être is not collectability. You cannot just decide that your wine is collectable. That is conferred upon a wine or winemaker by an increasing number of disciples chasing finite allocations. One day I will rue not tucking away a few more of these bottles, as they are fought over in auction rooms. 

On the same day that I read Hildago’s piece, I opened a bottle of 2019 Bosberaad Chenin Blanc from Paulus Wine Co. Never heard of it? Nor had I until I cracked off the white wax capsule. Paul Jourdaan, winemaker for Eben Sadie at Sadie Family Wines, and Pauline Roux, who has worked with fellow Swartland winemaker Adi Badenhorst, are behind this project. Those are pretty good credentials. This cuvée comes from 0.40 hectares of vine planted in 1980 in a cool microclimate on Waterval Farm in the Paardeberg that adjoins Badenhost’s estate, Franziska Wickens tending the vines. The debut was limited to 1,200 bottles and this sophomore is just 1,600 bottles. It comes with a very cool label that I describe as “Dr. Manhattan thinking about becoming a winemaker”. Watchmen fans will know what I mean. It tastes magnificent, so much so that I cleaved it away from my forthcoming South Africa report to highlight this bottle in Cellar Favorite. Its cool microclimate shows on the nose: brilliantly defined scents of honeysuckle, lanolin, Conference pear and white peach unfold and gain even more complexity the following day. The palate is beautifully balanced, demonstrating what Chenin Blanc can do in the right hands. There is real complexity that derives not from obvious flavors, rather its wonderful waxy texture and salinity that electrifies its finish. It is one of the best Chenin Blanc wines that I have tasted in a long time and I suspect will age extremely well. 93/Drink 2021-2038. 

Stay tuned because I will soon offer a Cape red from a different producer who is making a delicious unicorn wine that wine-lovers are already beginning to fight over.