Late in May a large contingent of Franschhoek Valley producers arrived in Johannesburg to show their wines. Of the 25 or so I tasted, several impressed: the Black Elephant Vintners Chardonnay Zero Dosage Cape Classique from the 2011 vintage was striking, creamy, complex, evolved (but not tired) despite 11 years on the lees and a further year in the bottle. At R325 it’s definitely worth a flutter — likewise the Le Lude Brut Reserve and the Klein Goederust Nomaroma.

The 2021 Bellingham Freda white blend, which includes a 40% component from the famous La Colline sémillon site planted in 1936, is still youthful and on track to deliver considerable pleasure over the next few years. The 2018 Old Road Stone Trail Chenin (from a vineyard planted in 1984) was equally enticing. Franschhoek boasts many of the country’s oldest sémillon vineyards — none older than the 1905 planting used to make Rickety Bridge’s The Pilgrimage...

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