Johan and Francois Malan are the brothers who own and operate Simonsig Wine Estate in the Stellenbosch Wine Appellation. Their children are moving into position on the Estate now. The founders, their parents, were Frans and Liza Malan. Frans was a true pioneer and innovator. The first red wine bottled on the Estate in the 1970s was a Pinotage. He also used for the first time, small French Oak Barrels for his Pinotage. The first Champagne style sparkling in South Africa was created by Frans and christened Kaapse Vonkel. Today this style of wine is known as Méthode Cap Classique or more commonly MCC. He was one of the founders of The Stellenbosch Wine Route.
Today the grapes for the Simonsig Redhill Pinotage 2017 come from a specific vineyard grown on the famous red hills of Stellenbosch. These soils, which are decomposed granite, known for producing fine grapes and hold moisture very well. The grapes are hand harvested and, once in the cellar, they are destalked and crushed and taken to open top and roto fermenters. Here the skins macerated in the juice for 2 days. The mash was pressed after 6 days with the fermentation completing in tank, followed by malolactic fermentation. The wine then spent 16 months in Oak Barrels, 87% French Oak, 13%American White Oak. Of these 70% were new oak while 30% were Second Fill. The wine was then prepared for bottling.
From a Bordeaux shaped bottle, closed with natural cork. The label is simple. Elegant and descriptive. In the glass, the wine is a deep bloodplum in colour which pale out to ruby at the rim. The aromas are of red and black berries, Crème de Cassis with the oak and its concomitant spice and vanilla. The palate has a line of acidity running from entry to the long and gently waning aftertaste. Rich and generous, the palate is full fruited with the red berry component given by its Pinot Noir parent. A very impressive glass, the wine will benefit from a couple of years of cool cellaring, my Simonsig friends say anything up to 10 years from vintage.
The Simonsig Redhill Pinotage 2017 is a serious wine for gentle sipping. Perfect, so perfect with a good plate of food. In these times of cold nights, Oxtail is called for and none better than Tony Jackman’s Obie’s Oxtail Potjie. Using Obie’s, the legendary Old Brown which we are not allowed to call Sherry. Click HERE for his recipe in The Daily Maverick. Tony’s book is something you should have in your kitchen.
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