Simonsig Wine Estate has this year celebrated its 50th harvest. Founded in the 1950s my Frans Malan and his wife Liza, Simonsig has a long history of pioneering in the wine industry, to many firsts to mention, though I do think that making their Kaapse Vonkel in the early 1970s, a Champagne style wine with a second fermentation in the bottle, now called Méthode Cap Classique, is up amongst the top. Frans and Liza’s sons carry on the tradition with Francois as the vineyard specialist and Johan as Cellarmaster.
The grapes used for the Simonsig Sunbird Sauvignon Blanc 2018 come from four different Wine Appellations, 55% Stellenbosch, 26% Walker Bay, 15% Elim and 4% Darling. The Estate bottled its first Sauvignon Blanc in 1978 and Francois and Johan feel that only in the last 10 years has the grape started to reach its potential. With Francois and his team using improved clones and better site choices as well as optimal canopy management. Cutting edge Cellar techniques and a choice for Johan of a variety of appellations, each bringing its own character to the final blend, also play a part. Plantings of Sauvignon Blanc on the estate now take place on higher sites where the micro climate is affected by maritime breezes off False Bay
2018’s harvest was very affected by the long hard drought in the Western Cape, now mercifully relieved as a Sauvignon Blanc Grapes in harvesters handsresult of good rains this winter. Healthy vines resulted in virtually no pests or disease. The bunches were lighter and the berries smaller which added to the intensity of the final blend. The grapes were picked in the early morning, destalked and gently crushed and the low yield juice allowed no skin contact and settled out crystal clear before cool fermentation to trap all the fruit flavours. Lees contact took place for 3 to 6 months with regular stirring to build the mid palate. The wines were then blended and prepared for bottling.
It looks like
Bottled under screw cap in an embossed bottle in the shape of an Alsatian Flute, new packaging for this wine. The livery is classical Simonsig. In the glass it is a gem bright pale golden straw with green flashes.
It smells like
Crisp fresh fruits, sweet tropical lime, winter melon.
It tastes like
From entry the wine swirls through to a generous mid-palate with a gold thread of beautifully balanced acidity right into the long and gentle waning aftertaste. A generosity of fruits, kiwis, tropical guavas and passion fruit with the merest hint of pink grapefruit, make it an elegant sipping wine. If well cellared the Simonsig Sunbird Sauvignon Blanc 2018 will improve over the next couple of years.
It’s good with
This is a sipper rather than a quaffer. Mid-morning refresher, aperitif and sundowner wine. Excellent with summer salads and Oriental dishes. Kate Liquourish, actor, food writer and you’ll see her in a number of TV ads, has a lovely website called UndomestiKATEd. Go look. If you are drinking the Simonsig Sunbird Sauvignon Blanc 2018 as an aperitif, Kate Liquourish’s Baked Feta Phyllo Parcels are just perfect. Click here for her recipe.
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