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China becoming a major wine player, but SA Chenin still tops

Read what Neil Pendock has to say about SA's winning grape.

by: Neil Pendock With Sessowa Rashid | 23 Oct 2016

Wine of the Week: Doran Vineyards Chenin Blanc 2014 (R63 from

South Africa came sixth in the recent World Wine Tasting Championships organised by La Revue du Vin de France magazine in Provence. The host country was edged into second place by … China! Quite a turn-up for the books, as China has only recently tuned in to wine.

The South African team of four included three women and sixth place was the highest we achieved in the four years the competition has been running – confirming the power of the female palate. When journalists were included in the team, we came stone last, which tells you something about the power of the press.

ALSO READ: The most important wine competition in SA right now

Next October, the competition will be held in Burgundy, so readers who fancy their tasting prowess should start training now.

Wines like the Doran Vineyards Chenin Blanc 2014 are a good place to start as the best Chenin grapes in South Africa are grown on the Paardeberg near Riebeek-Kasteel. This one is a symphony of roasted chestnuts and ripe peaches. Versatile in the kitchen, it is a perfect match for roasted chicken with crispy skin. Or Peking duck, a dish we’re sure to see more of at wine dinners now that China is cock of the wine walk.

Doran’s vineyards are owned by Irishman Edwin Doran, who made his fortune bringing rugby fans to South Africa to watch the Irish lose to the Springboks.

Japan came second last in the competition, narrowly beating Monaco, a city with a South African princess. But Doran is a brand that will play well in Tokyo thanks to Doraemon, an iconic Japanese cartoon cat.

Time magazine called Doraemon an “Asian hero” back in 2002, and in 2008 it was appointed a Japanese cultural ambassador.

Local ingredients such as crayfish, abalone and giant periwinkle are up there with fugu, uni and maguro as the best seafood in the world, while our Chenin Blancs are the best value for money anywhere. At about the same price as a bottle of imported mineral water, Doran Chenin is a total no-brainer, according to Doraemon.

Chosen by sommelier Sessowa Rashid from The Cape Town Club.


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