Brookdale has launched the maiden vintage of its unique Sixteen (white) Field Blend, as well as the fourth vintage of its old-vine Brookdale Chenin Blanc. A study in the balance of dichotomy, the two new wines showcase the diversity of Brookdale as one of the new wine-producing treasures of the Paarl Winelands.
Brookdale Chenin Blanc (2020) is the fourth expression of this site-specific wine that is produced in limited quantities. It is widely recognised for its flavour, nuanced character and precise equilibrium. Juxtaposed against this classic old-vine Paarl Chenin, is the fresh and intriguing vibrance of the new Brookdale Sixteen Field Blend (2021) – the first milestone in the journey of developing unique white and red field blends on the estate.
Under the gentle hand of winemaker Kiara Scott, the two new wines share the benefit of a minimal intervention approach to winemaking, that results in a unique combination of character and elegance in the glass.
Brookdale Sixteen Field Blend (2021) is a celebration of the ancient, lost art of field blend winemaking. In 2018, sixteen different white varieties were interplanted as bush vines on Brookdale. These include cultivars that have flourished for centuries in France’s Rhône River Valley, the Mediterranean coastline, and the Iberian Peninsula. Planted together for structure and complexity, and some for acidity, it speaks to a wide range of flavours, as well as versatility and enjoyment with food.
Winemaker Kiara Scott says the vineyard was monitored closely in season and harvested on ‘gut feel’ according to the variability of the ripeness of the grapes. This was followed by co-fermentation and vinification for a true expression of field blend philosophy, where it is ‘all about the totality of the blend, rather than the individual varietals’, to deliver a level of complexity, balance and elegance.
Tasting notes cite that ‘like a meadow in spring, the Brookdale Sixteen Field Blend 2021 is aromatically diverse; laced with white flowers, heather, orange blossom, and hints of jasmine; then bright green apples, pear, and an undertone of nutty apricot kernel. Subtle, balanced with a soft, enveloping texture, the palate offers concentrated, minerally stone fruits evolving to nectarines and ripe citrus. This depth is cut with a juicy, mouth-watering acidity before a pithy finish’.
The terroir of the Paarl Valley opens up a world of possibility through its unique combination of character and elegance. From old-vine Chenin Blanc (1985) grown on decomposed shale and granite, Brookdale’s flagship Chenin Blanc is one of the certified old Chenin vines found in the Drakenstein region.
Minimal winemaking was employed once again to allow this stony terroir to shine through in the 2020 vintage. ‘Unmasked, crushed stones unspool while limey, powdered chalk rides a wave of white citrus and white pear, underpinned by subtle oak spice. On the palate, the sensational white fruit continues. The mineral structure presents vertical and endless, enlivened by soft buoyant acids and a mouth-coating citrus purity. The finish is luminous, with a real granitic freshness.’
Tim Rudd, the owner of Brookdale says he is delighted to bring to market these two unique, terroir-driven wines. ‘Wine begins in the vineyard with the earth’s minerals, the sun’s warmth, and the air the connects them. It fulfils its potential with passion, creativity and skill in the cellar, but here at Brookdale we believe it really finds meaning the moment when the wine is shared and enjoyed together. We are excited to release these two new wines which are very different – but share the expression of the true heart of the Paarl Valley.’