A little over a year ago I had the opportunity to taste the Simonsig wines with Pieter Malan of Simonsig Family Vineyards; you can read my report from that lunch here. One of the standout wines was the 2007 Chenin Blanc. So when I had the opportunity to taste the 2008 vintage I was curious to see how it would be and if it would compare, stylistically and quality wise. Chenin Blanc is an important grape for South Africa as it tends to thrive there. The 2008 Sinonsig Family Vineyards Chenin Blanc was made from fruit mostly sourced in the Koelenhof area. This wine is 100% Chenin Blanc. Some of the harvested grapes had developed Botrytis. This "noble rot" is thought of more often when crafting dessert wines. 28,000 cases of this vintage were produced and the suggested retail price is $11.99
Apple, orange blossom and tangerine notes are all part of a bright, expressive, summery nose. The palate of this Chenin Blanc is rich and mouth-filling with creamy notes on the mid-palate that overlay and enhance tons of orchard fruit notes. Those are mostly ripe and bright, but hints of green apple do come through and add an additional dimension. Hazelnut, along with touches of honey emerge on the finish and give this wine hints of sweetness. This offering drinks quite nicely on it's own and there are quite a number of layers to contemplate. However this wine would also be a natural to pair with curry based Indian dishes.
The bottom line for me is that the 2008 Simonsig Chenin Blanc is a lovely expression of the varietal, from one of the key regions for this under-appreciated grape. It's also important to note that this offering is consistent in quality, style and overall value with the 2007 vintage.