Simonsig Tiara 2009

Entrance to Simonsig tasting room

Simonsig is a well established winery on the outskirts of Stellenbosch. Since 1968 they have produced an extensive range of white, red and sparkling wines which over the years has won the hearts of both avid new wine consumers as well as keeping their dedicated followers happy! They were 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 and in 2011 celebrated the 40 vintage of this delightful bubbly. Founder of Simosing, 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 the estate.

Cellarmaster Johan Malan

This year Simonsig celebrates yet another milestone and this time with their flagship red wine, the Tiara. Tiara’s maiden vintage was the 1990 launched at a sumptuous dinner held on the Estate late in 1992 and I remember the occasion well! We were seated with the late Frans and Liza Malan and it was an honour to have shared with them this momentous occasion! After dinner guests were presented with a gift bottle of the 1990 Tiara which I still have in my cellar today to remind me of this great event!

Last week Johan Malan invited a few wine scribes to a rare vertical tasting of the Tiara and we started off with the 1990! We were amazed at how well this wine, made then from 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Merlot, had held up. There was the usual age related hint of jammy fruit on the aroma but that quietly disappeared to reveal its elegance with rich plumy favours and long dryish finish. While tasting the line up Johan Malan who is Simonsig’s Cellar master, along with his red wine maker, Debbie Thompson briefed us on each vintage and how the blends were assembled. An exceptional flight of wines with highlights being the 1995, the 2000 and the 2005 which all displayed the potential to last as long as the maiden 1990. The blend for each vintage varied from year to year but recent bottling’s show more of the Bordeaux varieties with the 2009 having all five.

The tasting was followed by a delicious lunch in Simonsig’s private dining room with food prepared by the Chefs of their restaurant Cuveé. It was over our course of Venison Loin with smoked butternut gateau and port sauce that we could really appreciate and enjoy the Tiara 2009. What a stunning wine! With a colour of deep crimson you are enticed towards the sweet blueberry and cherry aromas leading to the youthful combined flavours of the predominant Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Well matched food such as we had helps to balance a complex and intense wine such as this. The wine is certainly acceptable now but there is no doubt that the collector will be rewarded by allowing a few bottles to spend some time in their cellar so that they can savour the wine over the next decade!

Expect to pay: R204.50



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