Bosman Family Vineyards’ Optenhorst Chenin Blanc is a wine made from a special vineyard on our farm Optenhorst. These bush vines were planted in 1952 and give us low-yielding fruit (three to four tons/ hectare). The name Optenhorst quite fittingly means ‘a place of sanctuary on top of a hill’ and this is exactly what you experience when you are standing amid these old vines that have been tended by the hands of three generations.
The Bosman Optenhorst Chenin blanc is made exclusively from one of the very oldest chenin vines in South Africa; one that was literally spared execution by its winemaker in 2007.
This bush vine, planted at the Bosman’s Wellington estate in 1952, was destined for removal due to too low a yield for the cooperative wine production system when Petrus Bosman, MD and Corlea Fourie decided to give it one more chance. But this time, she says, she intended producing the wine herself – and was rewarded with the slower sugar accumulation of a vine that had to dig deep to overcome the ravages of poor soil preparation and low vigour.
“The poet in me says that something that suffered that much must emerge more pure. It’s a romantic view, I know, but the minimalist cultivation of those times – allowing nature to take its slow pace – gave us a natural fermentation and a wonderfully elegant structure that resulted in the Optenhorst.” It’s an honest wine, she says, one that saved the vine and now takes pride of place at the estate.