Simonsig Tiara 2011
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.
This year Simonsig celebrates 25 years of producing their flagship red blend, 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 evening well! We were seated with the late Frans and Liza Malan and it was an honour to have shared with them this momentous event! 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 occasion!
Last week Johan Malan invited a few wine scribes to a rare vertical tasting of seven vintages of the Tiara and we started off with the 1995! We were impressed at how well this wine, made then from 72% 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 2003, 2007 and the newly released 2011, 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 the first vintage having all five.
Result: The 2011 is a complex and stylish blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Hues of deep crimson persuade you to whiff the aromas of violets and black cherry. The palate follows with rich intense flavours of redcurrant and spice with elegant dry tannins on the long finish.
When to drink: Now till 2024+
Drink with what: The tasting was followed by a delicious lunch in Simonsig’s restaurant, Cuveé. The 2011 Tiara was beautifully matched with the main course of braised beef short rib with Parmesan gnocchi, confit turnips, edamame and carrot.
Expect to pay (prices may differ nationally): R285.00
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