Silwervis 2016 — Chenin Blanc
A Wine That
gave us a (metaphorical) electric shock the first time we tasted it. It is a wine that stands defiantly on its own; proudly Swartlandish with an elegant soul. So elegant, in fact, that if you taste it blind you might not be able to distinguish it from its dry Loire counterparts. It tastes like fresh lime juice rolled in fine grained salt, and it is so vibrant that you'll feel like there's a Duracell bunny in your mouth. It is one of the most exciting Chenin Blancs coming out of South Africa and we're thrilled to be able to offer it to you.
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- Delivery: Delivery and gift wrapping options available at checkout.
- Winemaker: Silwervis
Where and How?
The Chenin Blanc grapes for the Silwervis white wine are sourced from a single vineyard planted in 1964, located on the decomposed granite soils of the Paardeberg Mountain region in the Swartland, South Africa. It is one of the vineyards registered with the Old Vine Project, a project that aims to preserve and restore old vineyards of South Africa.
The wine was harvested by hand, and whole bunch direct pressed into steel. Once natural fermentation had finished, the wine was transferred into a concrete egg, where it was left undisturbed for 12 months. The egg shape of the vessel allowed the lees to remain in constant suspension - essentially the wine moved continually on its own - thus the "lees effect" is heightened in this wine. The wine was then aged in stainless steel for another year, for extra complexity, before being bottled.
Neither Ryan, a Zimbabwean, nor Samantha, from the UK, came from a family background of wine. Their story is one of those magical chance happenings, that led them to become who they are today: two of the brightest young sparks of South African wine. In his early 20s, Ryan often travelled to Basel, Switzerland, with his little brother for medical treatment. It was here of all places where he came across a wine bar that specialised in Piemonte. Ryan thinks back fondly saying,
"that's when I realised there was something really special about wine - you could work with the land in a way that has deep meaning. Something started stirring in my mind."
Next thing he knew, he had ditched working in the Zimbabwean tobacco industry, and through the help of friends found himself in Piemonte learning about winemaking. Ryan and Samantha, already friends, happened to bump into each other in Rome by coincidence, and started dating. They went to South Africa in 2008, as Ryan wanted to show Africa to Samantha. The trip was both intended as a holiday, but also to learn about wine, as the two had already fallen in love with the industry. As Samantha said,
"On that trip, we just got the sense that something incredible was possible there. We loved Italy, but it was very expensive for young people with no connections."
That was that. They finished their studies, moved to South Africa with no plan, just two backpacks between them, living on the road for many weeks. Four years later, they started their own winery, and today, they are considered two of the most talented young winemakers of the Swartland. All of their vineyards are tended organically, some by the farmers who own them, and others leased by the couple.