After a dry Sunday which followed a blow-out Saturday (old friends, a magnum of Graham Beck Brut 1994, various local examples of Pinot Noir), we thought we’d treat ourselves to something extra special last night: Cederberg Private Cellar Cape Winemakers Guild Semillon 2007.
Though plantings of the variety remain small (1 167ha making up 1.2% of the national vineyard at the end of 2009), it consistently produces wines of high quality. A hard sell by all accounts (Cape Point Vineyards has discontinued its version, for instance) but for the more enlightened, some very good drinking to be had.
The Semillon 2007 was made by Cederberg’s David Nieuwoudt for sale at the 2008 CWG auction were it fetched an average price per six-bottle case of R1 320 (the equivalent of R220 a bottle) before going on to be rated 5 Stars in the November 2008 issue of Wine magazine. From Elim fruit, it was made using only free-run juice with 75% cold fermented in stainless steel and 25% fermented in new French oak and matured for 4 months before it was blended.
Drinking it last night, it is still a very dramatic wine. Nearly four years on from vintage, it impresses with a nose that is so intensely green as to be pungent and a palate that has both breadth (thanks to the portion in oak) and depth (thanks to a great line of acidity). It won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it certainly reflects the place from which it comes and there are sadly too few local wines of which that can be said.