In 1977, my wife Madeleine was working in the tasting room at Simonsig. I remember so clearly at the Young Wine Show that year, Frans Malan Simonsig Founder, introduced his first Gewürztraminer, The Simonsig Gewürztraminer 1977. To great acclaim. The Simonsig Gewürztraminer 2017, some 40 years later, is still a gem, 56% of the grapes being of Stellenbosch origin and the balance from Elgin.
Simonsig Founders, Frans & Liza Malan
Difficult to cultivate, there are only 122 hectares of this variety planed in South Africa. Gewürz is German for spice, and Tramin is a town in the Trentino Alto Adige region of Northern Italy.
The dry warm weather of vintage 2017 was one which provided its own challenges, yet was one which provided fine fruit, good in colour and perfect in flavour. Johan and Francois Malan, the owners of Simonsig Wine Estate, were very happy with the quality of fruit and its intensity.
Picked at high sugars with no botrytis infection, the is known as a Special Late Harvest Wine. It will continue to improve for anything up to 6 years after harvest.
The beautiful pink Gewürztraminer grapes arriving at the cellar
It looks like
Bottled under screwcap in a shape known as an Alsatian Flute, it has an elegant livery. IN the glass, it is a gem bright golden straw colour.
It smells like
This is one of the most aromatic of wines, just packed with Turkish Delight, rose petals and white tropical flowers. Once smelled never forgotten. The most difficult to pronounce and the easiest to recognise.
It tastes like
Rich and round, sappy tropical fruit like litchis and mango, sliced pears and an undertow of ripe white fleshed nectarines. The brilliant thing about this wine is that the rich acidity counterbalances the fabulous fruit. Wonderful full crisp and refreshing aftertaste.
It’s good with
Good glass at sunset. Yet, a perfect food wine. Loves mildly spicy dishes, curries made from seafood, fish or chicken – and of course, our own loved Bobotie. Mark Dodson, with whom I did a short stage at The Waterside Inn at Bray in 1990, and his wife Sarah now own The Masons Arms in Knowstone Exmoor, Devon. One of their fabulous desserts, is Mark Dodson’s Toffee & Banana Mille Feuille and would be a perfect partner to the Simonsig Gewürztraminer 2017.
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