The Malan legacy lives on

Tuesday, 27 July, 2004
Leanne Loots
At the forefront of an exciting new breed of South African Shiraz wines, the superior quality of Merindol Syrah can be attributed to meticulous care in the vineyards, quintessential terroir and the Malan family's commitment towards excellence spanning over 50 years.

Simonsig - the legendary wine cellar on the outskirts of Stellenbosch - has raised the benchmark of excellence to a new level with its Merindol Syrah 2001 crowned as South Africa's top Shiraz at the inaugural WINE Magazine TOPS at SPAR Shiraz Challenge 2004 and the 2002 vintage clinching gold at the 2004 International Wine and Spirit Competition in London. The 2002 vintage also secured gold at the Fairbairn Capital Trophy Wine Awards earlier this year.

This is the second time that Simonsig has taken top honours in a WINE Magazine Challenge after their Kaapse Vonkel Brut 1999 won the AMORIM Cork Cap Classique Challenge in 2002.

'Not only are these significant achievements deeply satisfying, expanding the impressive lineage of our award-winning wines, they also endorse our quest for quality excellence with each new vintage produced in our vineyards,' says Simonsig co-owner and Managing Director, Pieter Malan.

At the forefront of an exciting new breed of South African Shiraz wines, the superior quality of Merindol Syrah can be attributed to meticulous care in the vineyards, quintessential terroir and the Malan family's commitment towards excellence spanning over 50 years.

Having received the highest critical acclaim of either gold or double gold for each of its vintages since 1997, Simonsig Merindol Syrah has earned the enviable reputation as one of South Africa's top Shiraz wines.

'The progression of Shiraz excellence at Simonsig can be attributed to the intense dedication to this cultivar over the past decade,' says Winemaker Johan Malan.

Old vineyards were replanted in 1996 with new French Shiraz clones in ideal soil on specially selected sites, resulting in a dramatic improvement in the quality and varietal character of the grapes. The grapes for the Merindol Syrah 2001 were handpicked from a select 1,3-hectare vineyard block aptly named 'Rooigrond' owing to the colour of the soil - a deep red, decomposed granite with excellent water retention capacity.

For Johan who has seen the grapes ripen under his watchful eye in this particular vineyard situated right in front of his house, the making of Simonsig Merindol Syrah is deeply personal. 'It's the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I think of when I return home in the evening,' said Johan who nurtures these vines together with his viticulturist brother, Francois, to ensure that the vineyard achieves optimal health and balance.

'Besides the excellent plant material and the fertility of the soil, the location of the Simonsig vineyards on the Simonsberg foothills - situated a little further inland with colder night temperatures than the vineyards nearer the sea - also adds to the exceptional quality of the fruit,' Johan added.

The Merindol Syrah 2001 has earned its place in the Simonsig premium range of wines as a full-bodied and powerful oak matured red wine, with a robust and ripe tannin structure, good underlying acidity and an intense taste profile. This makes it the perfect accompaniment to venison, beef, fine cheeses and especially spicy cuisine. Layers of ripe fruit flavours, supported by an exotic vanilla oak spiciness complements its opaque deep inky black colour with concentrated aromas of crushed peppercorns, typical of Rhône-style wines, herbal flavours, dried proteas and fynbos combined with perfumed black berries on the nose.

The Merindol Syrah 2001 is due for release later this year retailing at around R170 per bottle and will reach maximum potential if kept for 6 - 8 years.

Other elegant wines in the Simonsig premium range include the flagship Bordeaux blend, Simonsig Tiara, Simonsig Redhill Pinotage, the first red wine cultivar released by Simonsig in 1970 and a Veritas gold medallist (1999), as well as the renowned Cape blend and multiple Veritas gold and double gold winner, Frans Malan Reserve (Gold: 1996, 1998, 1999; 2002 - Double Gold: 1997, 2003).

Simonsig achievements in 2004:

Chenin Blanc 2003:

Silver medal at the 2004 Swiss International Air Lines Wine Awards.
Ranked amongst the world's top Chenin Blancs at the 2004 Rendez-vous du Chenin in France.

Chardonnay 2002:
Silver medal at the 2004 Chardonnay du Monde in France.

Merindol Syrah 2001:
Voted best Shiraz in the inaugural WINE Magazine TOPS at SPAR Shiraz Challenge 2004.

Merindol Syrah 2002:
Gold medal at the 2004 International Wine and Spirit Competition in London.
Gold medal at the 2004 Fairbairn Capital Trophy Wine Awards.

Tiara 2001:
One of the top three recommendations in the Bordeaux Red Blends Category by Wine500 Club for their Winter 2004 selection.

For further information contact Simonsig at
Tel: (021) 888 4900
or visit the website:
www.simonsig.co.za 

The Simonsig winemaking team with their latest accolade
The Simonsig winemaking team with their latest accolade

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