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Ken Forrester Sparklehorse Sparkling Chenin Blanc

According to Steve Martin, King Tutankhamen was born in Arizona before relocating to Babylonia sometime around 1340 B.C. No mention on when Tut moved to Egypt.

Steve Martin never wrote a song about the grape variety Chenin Blanc, but if he did (and if he were to adhere to historical facts), the banjo-picking comedian might chronicle that Chenin Blanc originated in the Loire Valley of France before migrating around the globe to New World wine regions.

In South Africa, Chenin Blanc arrived in the late 1600s, stowed in the luggage of colonists emigrating from religious turmoil in France. Back then, no one left home without their vines. And a lot of vines made the trip. Chenin Blanc was planted everywhere.

Today almost 60 percent of the world’s Chenin Blanc is rooted in South Africa. It is the country’s most-planted grape variety with a genetic diversity found nowhere else on the planet.

In 1993 Ken Forrester acquired one of South Africa’s oldest wine estates. He inherited a ramshackle operation and was advised to rip out the Chenin Blanc vines and replace them with Bordeaux varieties. He did not. Something about the variety captured his imagination. Forrester dug in, pumped fresh energy into his historical vineyards, and soon transformed the image of a ubiquitous, mass-produced bulk wine into the king of South African whites.

Now known as the “global ambassador” for Chenin Blanc, Ken Forrester is a member of the Old Vine Project which promotes the preservation, sustainability and cataloguing of South African vines more than 35 years in age.

“My old vineyards give off a mystical energy—incredible sites—Mediterranean climate, marine influences, backstopped by rugged mountains.”

Sparklehorse Sparkling Chenin Blanc 2019 celebrates the transformation of Chenin Blanc from workhorse variety into carousel showstopper. Crafted in the same manner as the world’s finest Champagnes and sparkling wines (known in South Africa as Méthode Cap Classique), Sparklehorse delivers a cavalcade of zippy, palate-reviving green apple and crunchy Bartlett pear with sophisticated mousse.