If you want to know which as the first private estate in Stellenbosch to have bottled almost any single variety, Simonsig is one of the first you would investigate. Frans Malan, the founder was a real pioneer in the wine industry, first bottled his Cabernet Sauvignon in 1976. The 1977 vintage won the General Smuts Trophy as the Champion South African Wine.
Today his sons, Francois the Vineyardist and Johan the Cellarmaster have said that the 2015 vintage was ‘one for the books.’ We had a hot August and things went crazy from then on to an early harvest in the middle of March. Vineyards remained disease free and Francois and his team delivered healthy grapes with layers of fruit to Johan and his team.
The grapes for the Simonsig Labyrinth Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 were taken into the cellar, destalked, crushed and the cold soaked for 48 hours. Once the fermentation started regular pump overs took place to ensure gentle extraction of both colour and flavour and soft tannins. Using different block of the Estate’s Cabernet Sauvignon, Johan built a fabulous final blend. The wine spent 17 months in both French and American oak barrels, 86% of the former. Some 2nd and third full oak barrels were used. Final blending and preparation for bottling followed.
It looks like
Bottled appropriately in a Bordeaux shaped bottle under natural cork, with the classical Simonsig livery. In the glass, a gem bright deep dark plum at the centre which pales out to ruby garnet at the meniscus.
It smells like
All the wonderful Cabernet Sauvignon whiffs, violets, Morello cherries, blackcurrant liqueur and cedar.
It tastes like
Excellent layers from entry to the lingering long tail. Sappy fruit, roadside brambles, cherries, berries, Ribena. Tannins wrapped in a silk scarf. The fine oaking acting as a platform on which the fruit can dance. While it is accessible and drinkable now, this wine is a laster.
It’s good with
This is a good after-dinner bottle with a bar of fine dark snappy chocolate, around the fire. It is made for food for the tradition Sunday Roast Lunch with rustly roast potatoes, real gravy and good sides. However, in the middle of the week when you want an excellent bottle, it will go with a well-cooked supper dish. Using her mother Nellie Jooste’s recipe Ina Paarmans’ Venison Pie is a great partner. With many of my winemaking friends going hunting for the pot at this time of year it is very de rigueur. Click here for her recipe.
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