The Malan Family has been making wine outside Stellenbosch under the Simonsig Family Vineyards label since 1968. A couple of years later, in 1970 they introduced the first red. They’ve continued to push the quality envelope over time and widen their portfolio with complementary offerings when and where they fit in well. Their flagship wine however remains the Chenin Blanc; I’ll take a look at the current release today. The Simonsig Family Vineyards 2011 Chenin Blanc was produced using fruit sourced in several locations; the majority comes from the greater Simonsberg area. This offering is 100% Chenin Blanc. Fermentation took place in stainless steel, utilizing a select South African yeast. This 2011 release represents the 43rd vintage that Simonsig has produced Chenin Blanc. 28,000 cases of this widely available wine were produced and it has a suggested retail price of $11.99.
Aromas of hazelnut, Lychee, and papaya leap forth from the fresh, vibrant and welcoming nose of this 2011 Chenin Blanc. Bartlett pear, apricot, guava and an overall tropical mélange really shine through the palate of this wine which has a nice weighty, mouth-filling quality to it. Honey, nectarine and white pepper emerge on the finish which has good length and clings to the back of the throat for awhile. The Simonsig Chenin Blanc is well suited to drink on its own as well a pair with lighter foods. In particular it works well with appetizers.
Simonsig’s Chenin Blanc continues to be both a terrific value in general and a very nice example of how Chenin Blanc shines in South Africa in particular. If you shop around you can find it for right around $10 which is a bargain. With the holidays coming, stock up; this is a wine that will make all your guests smile.