Wine of the week: the Cape’s finest chenin

This South African white is a highly polished creation with stunning juiciness, breeding and undeniable style.

2019 Ken Forrester Wines, The FMC, Stellenbosch, South Africa

2019 Ken Forrester Wines, The FMC, Stellenbosch, South Africa 

£39.50, The Great Wine Co., 01225 322810,  greatwine.co.uk 

South African wine pioneer Ken Forrester, or “Mr Chenin” as many know him, is a mischievous raconteur and a tireless ambassador for not only his own exemplary wines but also for the greater Cape business as a whole.

There has always been a question mark about what “FMC” stands for. In 2002, I listed the inaugural vintage of this now legendary wine, the 2001 vintage, in my annual wine guide book The Wine List. I remember Ken showing me a sample prior to its release, and I declared that it was “f*cking magic chenin”. Ken didn’t disagree, so I felt I should tell the world. It turned out that FMC actually stood for “Forrester Meinert chenin” (Martin Meinert was Ken’s winemaking partner)! I am not sure anyone calls this epic wine by its correct nomenclature today, preferring my own coarse vernacular.

Anyway, this wine lives up to its name. It is a highly polished creation with stunning juiciness, breeding and undeniable style. The wild yeast brioche notes, coupled with the hints of botrytis and preening oak detail make this the Cape’s finest and most imposing chenin. The majesty here would frighten away even the cockiest savennières from the Loire valley. The Great Wine Co. has a stock of the lusty 2018, and this epic 2019 arrives next week. I always like to be first to a new wine and I know that MoneyWeek readers do too! 

Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (MatthewJukes.com).

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