Exploring the Highlights of Thistle and Weed Chenin Blanc Wines

By | 12 May 2024

Founded in 2015, Thistle and Weed is a joint venture between the Terblanche and Wiid families, directed by Etienne Terblanche (Viticulturist) and Stephanie Wiid (Winemaker). The brand’s name derives from the persistent presence of weeds nestled within the grapevines cultivated in the Western Cape. The duo liken the resilience and survival of grapevines to thistles and weeds. Each wine is given a distinct, botanically-inspired name in Afrikaans. I recently had the opportunity to sample their three Chenins. However, their wine selection also includes a white blend and 2 individual red varieties (Alicante Bouchet and Cabernet Franc).

Thistle & Weed Duwweltjie Chenin Blanc 2021, WO Paarl, South Africa
This Chenin Blanc is born from a bush vine planted in 1961 on the wind-battered koffeklip slopes of Joostenberg with ‘Duwweltjie’ being a reference to the devil’s thorns that cling to boot soles in this tough terrain. All grapes were whole bunch pressed and native fermented in aged French 225L barrels, agitated for the first month and then left to rest on lees for 10 months. Bottled in its raw, unadultered form, this Chenin features intricate notes of meadow herbs, white peach, pear skin and gentle quince. The wine has a smooth texture with lees adding body, and a vibrant energy that intensifies on your tastebuds, leading to a resonating finish. It scores a well deserved 92/100.

Thistle and Weed Brandnetel Chenin Blanc 2022, WO Stellenbosch, South Africa

Born from the Nietvoorbij vineyard situated in the shadow of the majestic Simonsberg Mountain, this Chenin Blanc is nurtured on weathered granite soils. Initially a rootstock trial site when planted in 1980, it now boasts 32 unique rootstocks. The ‘Brandnetel’ or stinging nettle, known for its duality as both potent and healing, serves as the inspiration for this wine. Whole bunch pressed and native fermented in French barrels, with agitation in the first month and maturing undisturbed on lees for 9 months. The result, an aromatic invitation with mountain herbs, downy quince, pear skin and white grapefruit layered with a buzzing grip from the granite soil. Ends on a compact and layered note, awarding it a 93/100 rating.

Thistle and Weed Springdoring Chenin Blanc 2021, WO Swartland, South Africa

This Chenin originates from a bush vine planted 1982 in Joubertskloof on the Paardeberg Mountain, rooted in the pure granite soils of Uitvlugcht at 300m altitude. Similarly made with whole bunch pressed grapes natively fermented in older French barrels, agitated over the initial month and then left undisturbed for 9 months before unfiltered bottling. With the characteristic density of Swartland, flavors like mature pear, green fig, subtle quince reside on a downy lees base, with an accent of crystal clear white grapefruit. Carries a saline and deep granitic hum long into the finish. Intricate yet subtle, this wine leaves a memorable footprint, much like its namesake, the hitchhiking Springdoring. Limited to 150 cases and scores 94/100.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *