Right. I know. I live in Walla Walla and typically write about Walla Walla and other wines from Washington State, but once in awhile one must "think" outside the box, or more like go beyond the border. Many of us locals have cut our teeth on the wines of the Walla Walla Valley, but as we explore in our pursuit to become knowledgeable about wines, it's important to explore beyond.
The African Passion lines of New World wine were first debuted in the United States back in 2013, and created in the KWV Cellar from Paarl, Western Cape. The grapes as well are also sourced from the Western Cape of Africa where Chenin Blanc is currently the country’s most widely planted grape.
In 1918, the year Nelson Mandela was born, South African wine farmers founded KWV with the aim of stabilizing, supporting and structuring a young, struggling industry. Until the early 1990s, when world markets opened to South African wine, KWV played a central role in regulating the industry. Since then, KWV has transformed itself into a commercial player, exporting award-winning wines and brandies from its main cellar complex in Paarl all over the world.
Chenin Blanc is a favorite of mine, and there are times I cannot get enough of it. It's not a plentiful white grape in the US, such as Chardonnay. We see a few Chenin Blancs in Washington State, and especially a couple of producers in the Walla Walla Valley. Whenever I see a bottle of French Vouvray, from the Loire valley - the birth place of Chenin Blanc, I cannot leave the bottle on the shelf.
The beauty of this white grape is that it is so easy to sip, but also one of the best white wines to pair with food. Even now, I am thinking how well it pairs with the Thanksgiving turkey, and sage and onion dressing. It's endless - the crisp acids pairs well with the charcuterie and cheese platters. Fish, seafood, poultry and creamy cheesy pasta dishes - from the basic fish and chips to lobster, and mac and cheese to a creamy primavera Alfredo.
African Passion Chenin Blanc - 2012: Juicy! Crisp! Fresh! Pretty! So typical of a well made Chenin Blanc. Orange blossom and melon on the nose. It's a bite of the fruit orchard, especially Granny Smith apples, ripe pears, and peaches. A hint of honeydew melon and lemon curd gives it a smooth mouth feel, with a sprinkle of nutmeg for spice.
One of the noticeable things of the African Passion line, it comes with a screw cap. Especially important if you are often a party of one, as I was able to enjoy about three days worth of this tasty wine. It's important to note that about 10% from the sales of the African Passion wines will be contributed to the TransAfrica Forum in order to support human rights and social justice in Africa. (Received free sample)