Simonsig Wine Estate has just become one of the most successful wineries in the history of the Absa Top 10 Pinotage competition. The inclusion of its Malan Family Selection Redhill Pinotage 2019 by the competition’s esteemed panel this week brings to eight the number of times the Stellenbosch winery has collected this much-envied trophy.
Founded by the Pinotage Association, the annual Absa Top 10 Pinotage competition seeks to identify distinctive Pinotage wines to serve as the benchmark for the industry. As such, Simonsig’s consistent success reaffirms the leadership its Pinotage has played in defining the quality of this South African variety.
“Pinotage has a special place in the heart of all South African wine lovers, so it’s particularly gratifying to receive recognition like this,” says Michael Malan, the third-generation Simonsig winemaker who heads up red wine production. “The credit belongs to everyone at the farm, from the vineyards to the cellar.”
Simonsig Wine Estate’s pioneering contributions have made it synonymous with the history of the South African wine industry and the Stellenbosch wine region. As for the Pinotage variety, it too occupies a special place in the winery’s history. The first red wine released by Simonsig in 1970 was a Pinotage. True to his pioneering spirit, family patriarch Frans Malan turned to new small French oak barriques for this wine.
The Redhill Pinotage is so named for the colour of the soils and topography of the area where the vineyard grows on Simonsig Estate. The soil originates from weathered shale and is regarded as the best for growing Pinotage.
During the 2019 vintage, the vineyards saw 70% more rainfall than the previous year – one recognised as among the driest in the history of the Cape Winelands – but performed well under the cool, dry conditions of the start of 2019.
Up to 14% of whole bunches were added to the fermentation stage, extending dimension of depth and complexity in the wine. 70% new French oak and 30% second fill was used for the full 19 months of its maturation before bottling, while production methods make it vegan-friendly.
Initial tasting of the wine revealed an exotic mix of violet floral notes and layers of white pepper with a light oak toast. The palate shows bright berry fruits of cranberry, tangy red cherry and fresh strawberries with a dark fruit core. The wine is intense, full bodied with silky tannins and a lingering dry finish. Michael reckons that matured correctly, the wine will continue to improve for the next decade.
“It pairs well with Cape Malay bobotie, pork belly, oven-roasted rack of lamb, stuffed aubergines or grilled mushroom kebabs,” he notes.
The Simonsig Redhill Pinotage 2019 is available from the farm, located on the Kromme Rhee Road, Koelenhof, Stellenbosch; leading retailers; and online for R500.00 per bottle at www.simonsig.co.za.
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