96 pts Tim Atkin MW 2021
This world-class Semillon combines fruit from three sites in Francshhoek, planted in 1902, 1936 and 1942. Three per cent Muscat ads a touch of orange marmalade to the leesy, flinty, lanolin and stuck match palate. Less oaky than in the past and all the better for it. Long and complex. 2022-29
Our Semillon is made from Certified Old Vine Vineyards, which count amongst the oldest in South Africa. These Franschhoek Semillon vineyards have acclimated to the harsh conditions and alluvial soils in which they grow, producing unique wines with intense depth and complexity. These old vineyards’ deep root systems and high skin-to-pulp ratio produce intensely complex, well-structured wines with unbelievable ageing potential.
Two of the vineyards used for our Semillon, planted in 1902 and 1942, are unirrigated bush vines, growing on little to no slope in the ancient Franschhoek Riverbed. These vineyards are well established on alluvial soils with a high loam content. The third vineyard, planted in 1936, is located further up the valley, on a 45-degree south-facing slope, on decomposed granite and quartz. Some of the vines within these vineyards have naturally mutated from Semillon to Semillon Gris, which has a slight red hue and higher skin-to-pulp ratio. The Semillon Gris vines naturally require more ripening time and are only harvested during a second picking. We opted to use a small portion of historic Muscat d’Alexandrie, planted in 1902, to enhance the
wine’s aromatic character.
The 2019 Semillon harvest was one of our earliest pickings to date, commencing the first week of February. Our winter was wetter than the long-term average and was followed by dry conditions during flowering, resulting in early set and bud break. These conditions produced lower yields with smaller berries and clusters-ideal for crafting rich wines with good concentration and structure. The 2019 Semillon shows a very well-defined purity and crystalline fruit character
The nose is fresh and inviting with intense aromas of orange blossom, marmalade, and jasmine and hints of potpourri, nettles, and beeswax. Pure flavors of tangerine, honeysuckle, nectarine, and notes of Cape fynbos, oregano, and chamomile create a multi-layered palate, with soft, beautifully integrated acidity and subtle nuances of khaki bush and fenugreek from prolonged yet very gentle oaking, lending complexity, and balance. The mid-palate is dry and richly textured, with a mouth-filling, lithe body and a vibrant, attractive mineral streak. The wine is arresting, precise and focused, yet elegant and smooth, with grapefruit, lemon curd, and lime lingering on a clean, slightly saline, mouthwatering finish.