Simonsig Chenin Blanc 2016

Chenin Blanc, South Africa’s largest wine grape planting, has been called The Workhorse.  I have always thought this was a bit of an insult, and have thought of it as The Show Pony. It is used in a broad range of wines and wine styles from the driest and most delicate of wines, some oaked and some not, through medium dry, semi-sweet and Noble Late Harvest, Sparkling Wines, Jerepigos and other sweet fortifieds, Sherry Style Wines and the finest of South African Pot Still Brandies, which win International Awards for the finest brandy in the world.

From its home in the Loire in France it has spread across the world, not least to South Africa where the national Chenin Blanc Vineyard is 6 times that of France.

The  majestic Simonsberg, in sight of the Estate

Simonsig Wine Estate in the Stellenbosch Wine Appellation bottled its first Chenin Blanc way back in 1978 by the late owner, Frans Malan, one of the wine industry’s real characters and leading pioneer. Today his sons, Johan as Cellarmaster and Francois as Viticulturist, continue bottling a single unwooded version of this wine.

The Simonsig Chenin Blanc 2016 takes a step up again with this vintage.  Francois ensured, though it was a bit of a struggle, getting the grapes to the cellar in the most perfect condition. Each vineyard section is separately harvested at various stages of the idea ripeness window.  They are separately vinified, some with skin contact before fermentation, to create the perfect building blocks when the time comes for Johan to blend the different components to create the perfect wine.

Chenin Blanc grapes ripening on the vine

It looks like
To honour this wine, Simonsig has had a special bottle made with glass embossing on the neck, front and back. In the glass, the wine is a gem bright pale golden straw colour with some lime green flashes.

It smells like
A generosity of tropical fruit.  Guava, white flowers and fynbos honey.  Fresh lively aromas.

It tastes like
Full round fruit – piel de sapo melon, fresh sliced ripe pear, ripe guava. Fresh and crisp with full mid palate. Elegant aftertaste, zippy and again fruit filled.

Anina Meyer’s Simple Tomato Salad with Parsley & Walnut Pesto

It’s good with
This is the perfect glass when you want a glass as a refreshed mid-morning, late afternoon or as an aperitif before a meal.  It is perfect with moules mariniere, goat cheese dishes and most Oriental dishes.  As a first course, Anina Meyer’s Simple Tomato Salad with Parsley & Walnut Pesto is a great match – the full sweetness of the tomato and the herbaceousness of the parsley being good foils for the wine.  Click here for her recipe.

Anina Meyer

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