I have a real soft spot for Chenin Blanc, half of my father’s vineyard was planted to this grape, originally from the Loire Valley, though its plantings here are six times the size of the French vineyards. Chenin Blanc is also the largest planted wine grape in the winelands. Chenin Blanc was the first wine bottled on Simonsig Wine Estate by founder Frans Malan in 1968, so the 50th year this year of wine harvests on Simonsig. Frans also used Chenin Blanc in the early stages of his experimentation with the Champagne style Kaapse Vonkel which eventually became known as Méthode Cap Classique. The Simonsig Chenin Blanc 2018 is a full bodied multi layered expression of this versatile grape – fresh fruit abounding.
Produced in a year of the worst drought in living memory, certainly in the last 100 years, Francois Malan, owner and Vineyardist and his team in the vineyards kept the vines healthy, the bunches were lighter and the berries smaller with great fruit intensity. Certain blocks were targeted and harvested at different periods in the ideal ripeness window to get maximum fruit flavours and acidity.
The grapes for the Simonsig Chenin Blanc 2018 were hand harvested, taken to the cellar, where Johan Malan, owner and Cellarmaster and his team destalked and crushed. Certain of the components were allowed overnight skin contact, again to add more flavours. Slow cool fermentation captured all the vital aromas and flavours. The wine was then prepared for, and then bottled.
From an elongated Burgundy bottle, closed with a screw cap, the bottle glass embossed with the Malan Family crest on the neck. Elegant, simple label. In the glass, a pale golden honey with golden flashes. The aromas of granadilla, crunchy ripe kiwi and green melon fair jump out of the glass. The palate is crisp and fresh with Granny Smith apples and sweet tropical limes. Full and round, and so easy to sip.
This is a brilliant glass on its own at sundown, cold and crisp. It is a fabulous food wine and goes with things summery like crisp green salads. Goat cheese. Also, fresh plucked mussels in a white wine and cream sauce. I always think that chicken is the perfect partner. Nadia Graves’s Perfect Roast Chicken says it all. It is perfect with the Simonsig Chenin Blanc 2018. Click here for her recipe.
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