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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Tuesday, September 29 2009. 11:50

Black & White Blend in South Africa

Stellenbosch winery Simonsig has released an interesting, unique blend of the two signature grapes of South Africa, the white Chenin Blanc and the red Pinotage to make a white wine, to be sold at a very reasonable price at Woolworths.

The Chenin Blanc Pinotage blend released on Sunday, September 28 gives almost the same importance to the red Pinotage which has 40% share. It is being retailed at 45 Rand ($6.00), under Rs. 300, making it an extremely attractive priced quality wine-certainly a wonderful possibility for India- if and when they export it.

Blending wines from black grapes with whites is not a very common practice except in Champagne. The red Chianti used to be allowed 15% Malvasia Bianca white grapes. Chateauneuf du Pape which has up to 13 varieties of grapes can also use white grapes Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc, Clairette, Picardin, Roussanne, and Picpoul- though the trend is towards lesser or none of the white varietals .

Another white varietal from Rhone (now being also grown by the likes of Sula and Grover in India) Viognier is co-fermented in small proportion with Shiraz to give colour vibrancy and add to the bouquet, particularly in Northern Rhone and Australia. Nebbiolo in Piemonte is sometimes blended with a small proportion of white Arneis. But barring Champagne which uses Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier to make white bubbly, most other such blends are used to make red wines. Therefore, this blend is rather unique for a white wine.

Named after the beautiful Simonsberg mountain in the backdrop, Simonsig Estate was set up in 1953 By Frans Malan who was a direct descendent of Huguenot Jacques arriving from France in 1688. A highly respected South African winery, it pioneered with Chenin Blanc grape which is regarded as a signature white wine variety in South Africa (the grape comes from the family’s ancestral country France where the middle Loire Valley produces great wines from Chenin in places like Vouvray). It was also the first winery to come out with an MCC-Methode Cape Classique, sparkling wine made according to the Champagne method, according to the website.

The Simonsig Chenin Blanc Pinotage 2009 has a zesty nose with fresh berry flavours. Though the flavours are fruit forward, the crisp acidity makes it a very enjoyable lively wine, when served at around 10-12º C. Though it is a young wine, it will age for the next couple of years, according to the winery.

Chenin blanc was the first wine released by Simonsig founder and family patriarch Frans Malan in 1968 where he started with Chenin Blanc in 1969 followed by Pinotage in 1970. It is now being run by his three sons. The easy-drinking Chenin Blanc bagged the coveted Superquaffer of the Year award for the last two consecutive years from the Platter’s Guide. Adding to many awards is the Top Ten Pinotage Competition  where its Pinotage won four top ten titles in the last five years.

For more information on Simonsig contact visit

Subhash Says:

Thanks for the correction, Peter.

Posted @ Wednesday, September 30, 2009 15:35

Peter F May Says:

I'm afraid the PR agency are over enthusistic in their use of the words 'unique' here. This is not the first or the only Pinotage Chenin blend on the market. Beyerskloof, for instance have one.

Posted @ Wednesday, September 30, 2009 15:24



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