Ahrens Family Paarl Old Vine Chenin 2017
Paarl, Western Cape, South Africa
Albert drives up to 40,000km every year between a plethora of vineyards in the Cape, sourcing only the very best grapes for his growing range of tiny-batch wines. One of the early voices of the Swartland revolution while winemaker at Lammershoek, Albert has remained quietly and confidently under the radar building his own projects, while also gaining experience abroad in Priorat, the Rhône valley and Champagne.
The "OVC" stands for Old Vine Chenin, and that's because it comes from two old vineyards of Chenin Blanc planted in Paarl in 1977, on soils composed of decomposed shale and sandstone. This area is between Stellenbosch and the Swartland, warmer than the former but a bit cooler than the latter.
Albert believes in doing as little as possible to the wine, using only indigenous yeasts and allowing the wine to speak of its origin. All his wines are matured in older, thicker-staved French oak barrels, the objective being gentle micro-oxygenation and greater lees contact rather than adding any oaky flavours.
Garnering 4 out of 5 stars in the 2020 Platter's guide, his Paarl OVC is a beautifully Chenin Blanc of great typicity, striking stone fruit and tropical fruits and dry, subtly spicy finish.