Wine of Origin: Simonsberg
Winemaker: Debbie Thompson
Cellarmaster: Johan Malan
Background: Simonsig is a well-established winery on the outskirts of Stellenbosch and since 1968 has been producing an extensive range of white, red and sparkling wines which over the years has won the hearts of many wine consumers. They were also the first estate in Southern Africa to produce bottle fermented sparkling wine made in the French tradition (referred in the Cape as Cap Classique) with their Kaapse Vonkel. Founder of Simosing, the late Frans Malan, was also instrumental with the founding of the Stellenbosch Wine Route along with his friends, Spatz Sperling and Neil Joubert. Today, the legacy of Frans Malan continues with his children, Francois, Pieter and Johan running the affairs of Simonsig.
A recent addition to their super premium range is The Garland, a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, with the first vintage, the 2008, having being introduced last year. Last week and a year later, the second release, the 2009, was released. The Garland is produced from a single vineyard of premium Cabernet Sauvignon grapes situated on a neighbouring cousins farm against the slopes of Stellenbosch’s Simonsberg Mountain. The 2009 vintage was characterised by an exceptionally wet winter leading up to spring of 2008, with the soils remaining cool and wet throughout the growing season. The idyllic cooler conditions that prevailed from spring to February 2009 ensured slower ripening of fruit, and longer hang-time on the vine leading to grapes of astounding structure and complexity. “The magnificent flavour spectrum was already evident as the grapes came into the cellar,” recalls Johan, “and applying the focussed vinification and barrel-maturation – as The Garland requires – with fruit of that quality is an honour for a winemaker.”
The grapes were harvested by hand and kept in chilled conditions after destemming to allow for good development of the berry flavours. Fermentation followed, after which the wine was matured in new French oak barrels for 22 months before bottling.
Only 3400 bottles were made and individually offered in a specially designed box.
Result: In the glass the wine displays a dark velvet colour with aromas of black cherry and prune with a hint of subtle cedar wood. The full-bodied palate offers juicy blackberry and briar flavours with depth and power on the long finish. The wine has the ability to mature for a further 15 years.
When to drink: now till 2024
Drink with what: We enjoyed it at a lunch at The Vineyard Hotel with a biltong spiced springbok wellington, mushrooms, rainbow carrots, organic fine beans, venison jus – delicious!
Expect to pay: R1500.00