Guess whose now a wine expert?
Yeah, not me!
However, I am proud to announce that after months spent tasting wines at different Cape Town events, I am now a winer…a lover of wine…el vino el liker!
It was the diligent education received at Simonsig Estate, that has me atleast 93.6% certain that I can now order appropriate wines, with different dishes.
Simonsig is an estate laden with the respect, and responsibility, that comes with being tied to a family that was one of the seminal contributors to the Cape’s wine history.
“The late Frans Malan, beloved patriarch of the Malan Family and one of the pioneers of the South African wine industry, was not only a craftsman of superior wines, but also introduced groundbreaking innovations including co-finding the Stellenbosch Wine Route and producing South Africa’s first Méthode Cap Classique, a bottle fermented sparkling wine made in the style of French champagne. Today, his legacy lives on through his sons, Francois and Johan, and grandson Francois-Jacques, the 2nd and 3rd Malan generations at Simonsig Estate.”
I do not pretend to be the foremost authority on alcohol, food or anything else; but I do believe I have taste, refined just enough to lend credence to most of the commentary I have. I do believe Simonsig to be worthy of the reputation that precedes it. Their renowned wine offerings are complemented by true Cape hospitality and reasonably efficient service.
The Cape is synonymous – in tourism – with wine, luxury, a hint of muted history, and cosmopolitan lifestyles. The drive from Cape Town’s bustling city center, to Simonsig, lets you experience the full range of this regions lauded character. One is welcomed to Simonsig Estate, with a vivid green image of a meticulously designed landscape – the wilds of nature tempered and charming enough to mistake for a screensaver.
Simonsig has rather distinguishable areas allocated for their tastings, wine storage, wine sales, and restaurant. I walked past the vines planted on weathered shale, to the main establishment, where I was ushered to the air-conditioned (because the African heat was flexing hard) tasting room. It was pretty cool to experience Simonsig’s range of award-winning wines in a relaxed atmosphere – while the European tourists did the same on the shaded veranda.
The Wine Tasting – 9/10
I was honored to get a wider-than-normal taste of the Simonsig wines, including:
The 2012 Simonsig Cuvée Royale Blanc de Blancs – essentially the master Blanc, achieving the culminating quality of Méthode Cap Classique
The Simonsig Straw Wine – my dessert special & the Vin de Liza – my precious honeyed sweetie
The 2015 Sunbird Sauvignon Blanc – soft pressing and subsequently low juice recovery, yielding a most trusted elegant, light white wine
The 2016 Chenin Blanc – hmmmm, new drinkable fav much?!
The 2016 GSM – aka ‘The Awesome’ – 3 grapes and a whole lot of seductive velvety smoothness – Trés French!
The 2014 Pinotage – a bloody berry red in the light, and a smooth slithering mouthful down the throat.
The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon – all I got was tenacious tannin
The 2014 Redhill Pinotage – the cedar-oak spice is a touch strong, enough that my taste-buds shivered at the intimidating scent, & the tastes full-bodied density.
…And my favorite introduction was to the Simonsig Gewürztraminer because – as their website states – “The rich and complex layers of fruit are well balanced with a fine and delicate acidity.”
The process of making Simonsig wines and the bubbly (including riddling and degorging), was told so whimsically – and with such detailed history and vested interest, by my wine-tasting pro handler Marelise – that I’ve slightly romanticized the weathersome task of making grape juice and sparkling wine what it is.
So after the wine-tasting, we tipsily made our way to the Cuvée restaurant across the way.
The fresh air in the patio area did a world of good to clear head and palette, until we dipped our toes back into the wine & bubbles with our meals. Oh Lord! The food was good you guys.
Starters – 8/10
A glass of Kaapse Vonkel, which I was told washes down the artisanal butchered, grilled Boerewors rather well. You can’t fool a South African when it comes to boerewors, and people? That was some lekker meat, accompanied by homemade kaapse vonkel mustard and shaved sweet onion in vinaigrette.
A glass of 2016 Chenin Blanc got me lively with its acidity, and was matched with the Melon, Cucumber & Rocket salad with crispy bacon, goats cheese and ciabatta-parmesan croutons.
Mains – 7/10
A whole roasted, deboned chicken laksa with coconut, green beans, coriander and salsa.
Beef fillet, with mushroom-truffle sauce and a hasselback potato.
Dessert – 6/10
The Dark Chocolate & Granadilla meringue tart with granadilla frozen yogurt and cacao nib was sublime, where the Coconut-almond Cake with dipped rooibos ice cream, caramelised nectarine and burnt mint marshmallow, had only its additions saving it from obscurity.
So all-in-all, Simonsig made for a pretty lovely dining and tasting experience. Also, I love the fact that they have lawn cushions for people to pass out on, as the food coma most people go into at Cuvée, require atleast a 15min nap.
Get in touch
General: +27 (0) 21 888 4900 | Tasting Room: +27 (0) 21 888 4915 | Cuvée Restaurant: +27 (0) 21 888 4932
Visit Simonsig.co.za for more