Simonsig shows its Class at 2021 Chenin Blanc Top 10 Championship

Simonsig Wine Estate has been named among this year’s champions of the Standard Bank Chenin Blanc Top 10, having entered what is arguably one of the competition’s most intriguing wines to date.

The winners were announced yesterday, with Simonsig’s Chenin Avec Chêne 2019 selected as one of the Top 10. Reflecting the winery’s legacy for often taking the road less travelled, the wine hails from a single vineyard planted in 1986, whose fruit was harvested over a period of intervals, and vinified – in small part – using an unorthodox winemaking technique.

The result is a wine that lights up with aromas of citrus blossom and lemon tart on a backdrop of stone fruits and nuts. On the palate, it reveals flavours of white peach, gooseberry, and dried fruit while a touch of oak contributes complexity and spice. In fact, it’s the fine use of wood maturation to which the name, French for Chenin with oak, alludes.

Commenting on its crafting, winemaker Charl Schoeman says the fruit was harvested at four different intervals according to ripeness. “The first harvest provides elegance through acidity and fruit; the second and third at optimal ripeness, for balance and well-developed fruit characters; and, the final harvest, for body and complexity on the palate.”

“We also used carbonic maceration on part of the wine, a technique that is very rare in white wines. It produces complex spice flavours and structure,” he says.

Furthermore, the wine was fermented using natural, wild yeast in large format barrels and left on the lees, in barrel, for 11 months. The Chenin Avec Chêne 2019 was released in April this year.

Part of the wine’s success no doubt also lies with the harvest conditions. According to Charl, the farm experienced a cooler growth season that encouraged slower, even ripening of the grapes. It also equipped them with good acidity, lining them up for elegance.

With this wine, Simonsig continues to build on its heritage that, along the way, includes being a co-founder of the Stellenbosch Wine Routes in 1971 and founding Cap Classique in South Africa, 50 years ago.

The iconic Kaapse Vonkel and latest Chenin avec Chêne 2019 wines are available to buy online, along with the rest of Simonsig’s extensive portfolio, via the winery website.

Simonsig is located on the Kromme Rhee Road, Koelenhof, Stellenbosch.

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