Are you ready to embark on a sensory wine journey back in time? Simonsig Wine Estate’s annual Vintage Day is taking place on Saturday, 29 July this year, and it beckons wine enthusiasts to discover rare and exquisite treasures of Cap Classique, white and red wines that have evolved gracefully through the seasons. Vintage Day offers a rare opportunity to savour the seasonal journey of hand-selected vintages and experience the harmonious fusion of flavours and textures that have shaped the character of these wines over time.
Join the celebration and unlock the treasures of Simonsig’s Vintage Day, where doors (and bottles) open at 11:00. Oenophiles will have until 16:00 to explore various wine stations during a walkaround tasting. Guests can engage with winemakers and brand ambassadors, enjoy live music, and savour exceptional culinary delights. Aquasky, a partner in the event, will provide a dedicated water station. Tickets can be purchased via Plankton.mobi or at the door, ranging from R395 (wine tasting only) to R595 (wine tasting and food) per person, and each ticket includes a crystal wine glass as a takeaway.
Wine is alive; each vintage marked with defined seasons. It starts with a young wine adorned with primary aromas in Spring, then transformed into a summer soiree in a glass when textures and aromas consort. An Autumn exchange sees the wine’s upfront zest evolve into a mature gloss that deliberately etches character into its fruit façade. And then, if offered the opportunity, its winter will arrive with a warm embrace of tertiary spice and the pillowing touch of velvet, concluding the seasons achieved with exceptional vintages and the graceful execution of its bounty. If this sounds enticing, here is a little preview of what to expect from the wines as they traverse the seasons in their lives.
Spring: The Awakening
As the vibrant base wine awakens in anticipation, Spring marks the beginning of a Cap Classique’s enchanting journey, and bubbly personalities like the Kaapse Vonkel and Cuvée Royale will each choose its path. This season breathes life and bubbles into the bottle, creating a symphony of flavours. Delight in the effervescent notes of lemon brioche, citrus zest, and delicate white flowers, which come together to create a sensory experience that celebrates new beginnings. The Spring flair in the life of still white wine is that of exuberant primary aromas, awarding drinkers with tropical fruit and a deliberate tension of concentrated flavours. It is the season when red wine is merely dipping its toes into adulthood, reluctant to show too much too soon.
Summer: A Celebration of Aromas
As Cap Classique takes centre stage in joyful celebrations, it reveals an aromatic symphony that captures the essence of summer. Immerse yourself in the intoxicating scents of ripe stone fruit, lemon meringue, and a touch of sweetness. These flavours dance on the palate, with a refreshing acidity that ensures a vibrant and invigorating experience.
After two years in the bottle, this is when the Langbult Steen awakens, its upfront stone fruit tying the knot with riper quince aromas and a mellowed acidity steps up, revealing a creamier edge. A robust red like the Labyrinth Cabernet Sauvignon will now loosen the strings of its tannin corset, allowing the drinker a glimpse into its rich, fruitier heart.
Autumn: Unveiling Deeper Dimensions
Vintage Day provides a rare glimpse into the unexplored autumn season of Cap Classique, where deeper dimensions await discovery. Like the changing colours of autumn leaves, hints of copper and gold emerge, creating an enticing visual spectacle. As the wine unveils its complexity and sophistication, allow your senses to revel in the aromas of nectarine, kumquat, delicate nuttiness, and subtle spice. Shedding its juvenile skin, a well-made white wine now steps forward with enticing aromas of dried flowers, beeswax, and even a touch of spice. Reds will take longer to reach this season, but when it does, after a decade, the reward is cosmic. Albeit more subdued aromas of blackcurrant and plum blackberry, it now bears an ethereal complexity with secondary flavours of cedar and leather, oak sharing a breath of baking spice, the structure refined and velvety.
Winter: Cozy Embrace of Time
The elusive winter season of Cap Classique invites you to slow down and savour the cherished bubbles that have aged to perfection. Feel the warmth envelop your senses as notes of honey, elderflower, marmalade, and almond skin transport you to a cosy fireside setting. These flavours, developed over time, evoke a sense of comfort and elegance that only comes with the passing seasons. This is when a Cap Classique has passed the decade mark, and a white blend like the Mediterraneo exhibits a heightened level of complexity after five to eight years. While flavours like honey, nutmeg and beeswax may emerge, the luscious texture ensures a luxurious drinking experience, offering a delightful sensory experience. A grand red like our Tiara passing the 15-year mark will become unashamed of its depth, achieving a greater sense of balance and harmony, transformed into the cohesive and refined wines they were meant to become.
A Symphony of Vintage Delights
The selected vintages are still a surprise, but Danna de Jongh, Simonsig’s Cap Classique winemaker, recommends starting with the youngest wines and gradually exploring the tertiary nuances of older vintages. For example, the Kaapse Vonkel 2018 offers a vibrant array of ripe stone fruit and a touch of lemon meringue. Its 2015 vintage earned Johan Malan the title of Diners Club Winemaker of the Year and now delights with orange sponge cake, marzipan aromas, creamier textures, notes of lemon verbena and almond skin. And compared to its 2011 vintage, it poses in an autumn frock decorated with citrus blossom with a nostalgic scent of apple pie, chamomile, and gingerbread.
Seasons and generations
Galvanised by the visionary late Frans Malan, followed by his son Johan, and now carried forward by third-generation winemaker Michael, the generational trio brings to life years of experience. Exploring the ageing potential of wines is a rare treat for consumers, says Michael Malan, acknowledging the curiosity often encountered at wine shows, where enthusiasts yearn to taste how their favourite wines evolve.
“Market demands necessitate wineries to make wines accessible earlier, while ageing can be costly and requires time and patience. I recently tasted the 2016 unoaked Chenin Blanc, and it was fantastic – poised at that perfect moment in a Chenin’s life when it has transformed from a poolside indulgence into an elegant companion for food.”
Regarding selecting older red wines, visitors can expect a few showstoppers with profound examples of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. But it is Pinotage, tells Michael, that people are mostly surprised mainly by.
“It is that lingering sweetness of Pinotage that never dissipates. It is a fruit vibrance that people can relate to. Many of these wines need decanting to add a bit of theatre while people can learn more about how to serve older wines. We find great joy in sharing the evolution of our wines with the public. Witnessing that ‘aha’ moment when visitors discover the optimal peak of a wine, its sweet spot, is pure magic.”
We hope that you are just as excited about Vintage Day as we are, and we cannot wait to raise a glass with you. Don’t miss the opportunity to purchase select rare vintage wines from Simonsig, available from 29 July to 7 August 2023, while stocks last.