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Patatsfontein Steen (Chenin Blanc) 2021


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About Patatsfontein Wines

Patatsfontein is a South African winemaking partnership between Reneen Borman of Boschkloof and college friends Henke Kotze and Fritz Schoon. The story goes that Schoon’s father-in-law traded his flooring business to purchase a 1,200-hectare property in Montagu, which was planted to various white grapes including Colombard and Chenin Blanc (known colloquially as Steen). Schoon’s friend, Chris “Butch” Alheit visited the vineyard one day, and, inspired by what he saw, convinced Schoon that their fruit was too good to be sold off to the local co-op. Alheit introduced Schoon to Reneen Borman, and the Patatsfontein label was established.

Today, Patatsfontein is known for its Steen, Colombard, and Syrah wines, which have risen the ranks of the greats in South Africa in a very short time. Wine writer Christian Eedes has called the Steen “crackerjack stuff.” Beyond skilled winemaking, the well-chosen vineyard sites are to thank for that praise. The white wines are grown at 2,000 feet in Montagu, a rugged and remote area known for its unique slate soils. These cool-climate whites are beautifully raw, with bracing acidity and finesse. Patatsfontein’s Syrah is grown in the Polkadraai Hills of Stellenbosch. This area gets long sunshine hours, balanced by cool ocean gusts, which renders a Syrah with concentration and explosivity.

Like his winemaking style at Boschkloof, Borman takes a hands-off approach in the cellar. Only native yeasts are used to ferment the wines, and ageing is carried out in either neutral French barrels or small cement eggs. With its rise to understated success in just a handful of years, Patatsfontein is poised to be written into South Africa’s wine history books as one of the timeless classics. To be a classic is in their nature, after all; the trio chose their legal business name to be none other than “Ron Burgundy Wines.” You could say they’re kind of a big deal 

This is now in its eighth vintage and Reenen, Henk and Fritz finally feel they are starting to find the direction the vineyard and site is wanting to direct them. This wine has risen the ranks of the great Chenin Blancs in South Africa in a very short time. Reenen continues to harness the shrieking acidity and minerality that the Patatsfontein brings at 2,000 feet in elevation in the Keisie Valley of the Klein Karoo. The soils here have a heavy lime base which brings a ‘Burgundy-esque’ finesse to the wine.

The fruit was hand harvested and whole-bunch pressed with full lees directly to old French barriques. The turbid juice is beaten up a lot with battonage early on and fermentation occurs naturally and without any addition, finishing over the course of nearly two weeks. The lees are quite thick and come spring time malolactic fermentation occurs naturally in some (2/3) of the barrels. After 11 months of ageing the wine is racked to tank where the wine naturally settles and it was bottled without fining or filtration and a small addition of sulphur.  100% Chenin Blanc (Steen).

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