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Simonsig Chenin Blanc 2011

Chenin Blanc from South Africa
  • RP90
14.6% ABV
  • WW91
  • JS90
  • WW89
  • WW89
  • WS88
  • W&S88
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14.6% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Simonsig Chenin Blanc 2011 is 100% Chenin Blanc. It is vibrant bright straw in color. On the nose the wine is leaping out of the glass with aromatics of ripe tropical fruits like pineapple, ripe pear, guavas and a hint of floral notes. Sun ripe grapes add to concentration of complex fruit flavors on the palate with hints of honey and raisins. The wine has a fresh crispy and smooth silky texture on the finish.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2011 Chenin Blanc forms the perfect introduction to South African Chenin at a bargain basement price. It has a crisp nose of fresh Nashi pear and chalk dust. The palate is nicely balanced with tangerine and apricot tinged fruit that leads to a delicate finish with well-judged acidity and hints of peach on the finish. This is straight to the points, no frills, delicious Chenin.
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Simonsig, South Africa
2011 Chenin Blanc
The Simonsig vineyard lies Northwest of Stellenbosch and is privately owned by the Malan family. It produces some of the finest red and white wines as well as a sparkling wine made by the Cap Classique Methode – the local Champenoise. The Stellenbosch region is recognized as the best wine producing area in South Africa and lies 45 kilometres east of Cape Town.

The first Malan who came to South Africa in 1688 was a French Huguenot. At the Cape of Good Hope, then under Dutch rule, he was given land to plant new vineyards. He subsequently settled near Stellenbosch which became famous for its quality wines. It is still known as the champion wine region of South Africa.

The Simonsig Estate vineyard stretches out over 211 hectares around the northern side of Stellenbosch at the foot of the Simons mountain. It is generally acknowledged as the largest private producer of estate wines in South Africa.

Simonsig produces numerous varieties such as Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Pinotage.

South Africa

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The South African wine renaissance is in full swing. Impressive red and white bargains abound. South Africa has a long and rich history considering its status as part of the “New World” of wine. In the mid-17th century, the lusciously sweet dessert wines of Constantia were highly prized by the European aristocracy. Since then, the South African wine industry has experienced some setbacks due to the phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s and political difficulties throughout the following century. Today, however, it is increasingly responsible for high-quality wines that are helping to put the country back on the international wine map. Wine production is mainly situated around Cape Town, where the climate is generally warm to hot, but the Benguela current from Antarctica provides the brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening. Similarly, cooler high-elevation vineyard sites offer climatic diversity.

South Africa’s wine zones are divided into region, then smaller districts and finally wards, but the country’s wine styles are differentiated more by grape variety than by region. Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, is the country’s “signature” grape, responsible for earthy, gamey reds. When Pinotage is blended with other red varieties, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, or Pinot Noir (all commonly vinified alone as well), it is often labeled as a “Cape Blend.” Chenin Blanc (locally known as “Steen”) dominates white wine production, with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc following behind.

Chenin Blanc

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Responsible for some of the world’s highest quality white wines, Chenin Blanc doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves. Unquestionably at its best in its birthplace of the Loire Valley, Chenin Blanc can do it all—from bone dry to unctuously sweet, still or sparkling. Perhaps Chenin Blanc’s greatest asset is its ever-present acidity, maintained even under warm growing conditions. Chenin Blanc is planted in California, namely in the Clarksburg AVA but also very widely planted in South Africa, where it is occasionally labeled as “Steen.”

In the Glass

Chenin Blanc ranges from austere to richly sweet, with aromas of McIntosh apple, honey, beeswax, jasmine, hay, and quince. When grown in warmer regions, Chenin Blanc develops richer, tropical-fruit flavors, such as pineapple and melon, as well as ripe stone fruit. Often these wines carry some residual sugar.

Perfect Pairings

Cool-climate Chenin Blanc has the structure, austerity, and chalky acidity to work with antipasti or unadorned seafood, such as oysters and shellfish. Off-dry styles work well with the sweet-and-sour nature of Thai and Vietnamese food.

Sommelier Secret

There are several appellations throughout the Loire Valley devoted to producing different styles of Chenin Blanc. Vouvray, Saumur, Anjou, and Savennieres are known for excellent dry and off-dry wines; Vouvray, along with Montlouis, Bonnezeaux, and Quarts de Chaume, produces glorious late-picked sweet wines whose high sugar levels are offset by Chenin Blanc’s hallmark acidity. Sparkling Crèmant de Loire, Saumur, and Vouvray provide delightfully affordable and flavorful alternatives to Champagne.

RPT83560405_2011 Item# 112306