Wine of Origin Stellenbosch
This wine was specially made to commemorate the very first Steen to be bottled by Frans Malan the founder and patriarch of Simonsig. It was 1968 and the modern South African wine industry was about to start. In 2017 the Simonsig Chenin Blanc reached the incredible milestone of its 50th consecutive vintage since 1968.
The 2017 vintage was a challenging one that led to a smaller, but very promising harvest for the Stellenbosch region. The dry warm weather produced grapes with small berries with great fruit intensity. The cooler nights and warmer days during the ripening period resulted in grapes with excellent colour and fruit formation. The Chenin Blanc 2017 did not disappoint, we were delighted with the quality and intense fruit spectrum from the various blocks. We selected a few blocks that we picked earlier to retain the natural acidity of the grapes and then there were blocks that were harvested much later at full ripeness to capture the honeyed late harvest flavours.
A very special cuvee was made to celebrate this truly South African signature wine. Grapes from the oldest block on Simonsig were harvested at four different stages of ripeness to capture the complete spectrum of Chenin Blanc flavours. After almost a year on the fermentation lees in seasoned French oak of 400 and 225 litre capacity, a handful of standout barrels (8 out of 57) were selected after a lengthy and rigorous tasting process. These 8 barrels were from the first, second, third and fourth picking and meticulous tastings resulted in a blend with delicious layered fruit and rich depth of flavour.
The first hand picking was done on 2 February 2017 and the last few rows were picked on 2 March 2017 exactly a month later. During that time the ripeness increased from 21.5 Balling to nearly 26 Balling with beautiful raisined berries in the bunches. It was left on the skins overnight at low temperature to extract all the flavours and concentrated sugars.
The final cuvee is a perfect composition between the leaner, crisp minerality of the earliest picking combined with the ripe white pear and yellow apple of the middle two pickings and finally the richness of the super ripe Chenin. This adds the caramelised apple, raisin and fynbos honey to the aromas that cover the palate. The silky viscous texture of the wine adds to the palate weight and mouth feel. The oak influence is subdued and respects the fruit. A beautiful Steen that will continue to develop over time and a wine that always shows best in a magnum. This is a very rare Magnum Flute, the exact same bottle shape used for the Simonsig Steen in 1968. A worthy tribute to a legendary wine and grape variety.
Alcohol: 13.6% by volume
Residual Sugar: 2.5 g/l
Total Acidity: 6.8 g/l