Simonsig Estate Marks 50 years with Commemorative Steen in Magnum


In the year of celebrating its 50th anniversary of making and bottling wine under its own label, pioneering Stellenbosch wine estate Simonsig has released a special commemorative magnum Steen 2017. This wine was specially made to commemorate the very first Steen (Chenin Blanc) to be bottled by Frans Malan, the founder and patriarch of Simonsig, in 1968 which saw the birth of a wine farm that helped pave the way for estate wines in South Africa.

Only 1 100 magnums were bottled under the original label that was used in 1968, its classical design and flute-shaped bottle serving as a collectable reminder of those early days of the local wine industry.

According to Simonsig cellar master Johan Malan, the commemorative wine was made from a very special cuvée to celebrate this truly South African signature wine. “Grapes from the oldest block on Simonsig were harvested at four different stages of ripeness to capture the complete spectrum of Chenin Blanc flavours,” says Malan.  “After almost a year on the fermentation lees in seasoned French oak of 400 and 225 litre capacity, a handful of standout barrels (eight out of 57) were selected after a lengthy and rigorous tasting regimen. These eight barrels were from the first, second, third and fourth picking and meticulous tastings resulted in a blend with delicious layered fruit and rich depth of flavour.“

Malan says the wine was made during a cooler 2017 vintage. “The dry weather produced grapes with small berries with great fruit intensity,” he says. “The cooler nights and warmer days during the ripening period resulted in grapes with excellent natural acidity and fruit formation. The Chenin Blanc 2017 did not disappoint and we were delighted with the quality and intense fruit spectrum from this single vineyard block. The earliest picking retained all its natural acidity while the later batches coming from the same vineyard showed increasing levels of ripe, tropical and raisin-like flavours. This method provides delicious layered fruit characters that will contribute towards growing complexity over the next five to eight years.

The result is a wine befitting its bottling as a once-off release to celebrate this milestone in the history of the Malan Family Estate. “The final cuvée is a perfect composition between the leaner, crisp minerality of the earliest picking combined with the ripe white pear and yellow apple of the middle two pickings and finally the richness of the super ripe Chenin,” he says. “This adds the caramelised apple, raisin and fynbos honey to the aromas that cover the palate. The silky viscous texture of the wine adds to the palate weight and mouthfeel. The oak influence is subdued and respects the fruit.  A beautiful Steen that will continue to develop over time and because any wine always shows best in a magnum, this is one to lay down for a few years..

“This is a very rare magnum flute, the exact same bottle shape used for the Simonsig Steen in 1968.  A worthy tribute to a legendary wine and grape variety.”

The wine is exclusively available from that Simonsig Wine Tasting Centre on the estate at a price of R495, packaged in a special single bottle gift box.