Thursday, May 21, 2015

Wine Review: MAN Family Wines 2014 Chenin Blanc

So here's the thing: It's officially still spring here in the northern hemisphere but c'mon, it's summer. It's time for being outdoors, eating seafood and keeping the wine refreshing. Crisp white wine is where it's at for late spring, early summer. Once you're into the groove of summer you can return to the reds, but you gotta kick it off with lots of whites. You just gotta.

Oh Chenin Blanc, my dear, dear friend. You are the ultimate white grape. Creating so many different wine styles ranging from sweet to bone dry, from fruity to minerally, from expressive to delicate. So many different styles, so many completely different flavor profiles and they're all awesome. The ultimate white grape.

Chenin Blanc is native to France but it's also known as Steen in South Africa and it's been grown there for a very long time, basically becoming their flagship wine grape along the way. There's reason to believe that it was even the very first European wine grape grown in South Africa, resulting in the first South African wine on February 2nd, 1659.

MAN Family Wines is named after Marie, Annette and Nicky... the wives of the three founders. The winery was founded in 2001 in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Their Chenin Blanc, however, is from the Paarl area, north of Stellenbosch. It's completely made from free-run, which is the juice that flows freely out of the grapes in the crusher before it's pressed. This is widely considered the best quality juice for making wine.

This one has a screw cap and that keeps things easy. And it's kind of a summer necessity for people here on Cape Cod. You wouldn't believe how many people forget to bring a corkscrew with them on vacation and don't want to buy a new one! I mean, WTF! I almost always have a corkscrew on me! It's a goddamn survival tool! Some people just don't have their priorities straight. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with a screw cap.

I like the package. It's a burgundy bottle with a very clean, sophisticated, classy label. Kind of reminiscent of Cloudy Bay's label, now that I think of it. Back label says the wine is 13.5% ABV.

By the way, I'm still using that My Wine Passion Chiller Stick. Friggin love that thing. I actually remembered to pour myself a little sample of the wine before I put the stick in, so I didn't have to lick overflowed wine off of my countertop this time. I really have no shame at all.

First thing I notice upon smelling is that the wine clearly saw some aging on the lees. Right up front it has that yeast and floral character of Muscadet Sevre et Maine and Champagne. Other aromas include melon and white peach. On the palate the wine has a slight touch of sweetness that's balanced by the acidity. There's flavors of nectarine, white peach and cilantro.

This is a good, solid summer wine for $12. It's just begging to be paired with a big ol' bucket of steamers, oysters or lobster. If you're not into shellfish or seafood, it'll go great with some grilled chicken too.

Price: $12
Rating: 3/5 = Satisfying.
(what does that mean?)

The bottle used was supplied free of charge for the purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.


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