Simonsig Wine Estate in the Stellenbosch Wine Appellation is approaching its 50th year of winemaking which started in 1967 when Frans and Liza Malan founded the wine estate. Frans Malan, father of the current owners, Johan as Cellarmaster and Francois as the Vineyard Specialist, began a path of pioneering which still continues today as the third generation join the family business. One of Frans’s pioneering wines if the Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel, which he made in the early 1970s using Chenin Blanc grapes. Today Johan continues making Kaapse Vonkel, but now with the classical Champagne varieties, Chardonnay 48%, Pinot Noir 49% and Pinot Meunier3% for the 2015 vintage. The Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Brut 2015 is made in the classical Champagne method, with a second fermentation in the bottle, this wine is referred to as Méthode Cap Classique.
The grapes are very carefully handled, hand harvested into bins. The bunches are pressed whole and gently in a pneumatic press. The purest of juices which run off are called the cuvée. Allowed to settle clear, the juice is then fermented using specialist yeast strains for this style of wine. A component of the Chardonnay was matured in previous fill French oak barrels to add complexity. No malolactic fermentation took place allowing for maintenance of crisp and freshness.
Once the base wine is made and blended, it is bottled, the sugar yeast cocktail added and allowed to ferment and then mature on the lees.
It looks like
Bottled in a traditional Champagne shaped bottle under a natural cork closure and the little wire muzzle. In the glass, it is a gem bright pale golden straw with the tiniest of bubbles rushing to form a crown around the edges.
It smells like
Tickly bubbles, Granny Smith apples, and ripe white fleshed peaches.
It tastes like
From entry, it is an exciting drink, bubbles dance on the tongue, and the wine fills the mouth with its fresh acidity well into the long aftertaste.
It’s good with
A true any time wine. Mid-morning refresher [what about breakfast?], through to before lunch, with lunch and before during and after dinner. You will be told it is good with Oysters – true. You will be told it is good with seafood – true too. It is great with dessert and even a slice of my Kitchen Cake, you’ll want a couple of these around at Christmas. Click here for my recipe.