Simelia Merlot 2013

Celia Hoogenhout and Simon Obholzer of Simelia.

Celia Hoogenhout and Simon Obholzer of Simelia.

Celia Hoogenhout  is a local girl who married German-born Simon Obholzer in 2012 and together they decided to take over the farming the two small blocks of Syrah and Merlot on Celia’s parents’ farm Woestkloof in Wellington.

Louis Nel, previously of Warwick and Hidden Valley, makes the wine on their behalf and the maiden vintage 2013s are now in the process of being released.

Simelia Merlot 2013
Price: R180
Abv 13.5%. Matured for 16 months in third- and fourth-fill oak. Dark fruit, violets, fresh herbs and a certain olivaceous note. Medium bodied with moderate acidity and fine, properly ripe tannins. The finish is long and gently savoury. A really smart Merlot from Wellington – who would’ve thought?

Score: 91/100.

Simelia Shiraz 2013
Price: R180
Abv 14%. Maturation as for the Merlot. Red and black fruit and spice but also some reduction. Super-concentrated fruit, quite heavily extracted and perhaps a little hot on the finish. Respectable enough but not nearly as winning as the Merlot.

Score: 87/100.

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  1. KwispedoorOctober 27, 2014 at 11:10 amReply

    With Merlot that’s so easily heat and water stressed, maybe they can explain a bit more about the production of this wine (apparently proper physiological ripeness at 13.5% abv from a mostly dry and hot area)? If one hears about all the excuses for harvesting this grape very late in cooler, wetter areas, surely sorcery or a Voodoo doll has come into play here?

    • SIMELIA WinesOctober 27, 2014 at 6:01 pmReply

      Hi Kwispedoor – thank you for your interest! Indeed our farm is located in a traditionally “hot area” – we are, however, situated high on the slopes of the fertile Groenberg mountain where we have cooling mountain winds at night which relieves the intensive ripening process. We also focus on balancing the effects of the hot day-time conditions with a customised irrigation scheme and pro-active vineyard management. We harvest early to mid-February to ensure we don’t create an “overcooked” wine. Our winemaker Louis Nel took over the reigns after harvest day and nurtured the wine according to the style we were after. We invite you to taste the Merlot with us.

      • KwispedoorOctober 27, 2014 at 8:01 pm

        Thanks, Simelia Wines!

        So, in a nutshell, you have a coolish pocket, you’re not lazy in the vineyards and you harvest earlier. Of course “pro-active vineyard management” is a little vague, but I’ve heard that earlier opening of the canopy helps to get rid of greenness. Either way, thanks for demonstrating again that – provided one didn’t plant in an inappropriate spot – it’s possible to harvest earlier to achieve freshness and avoid alcohol burn. If one really wants to, of course…

        Thanks for the invite, but I’m stuck in Gauteng for the foreseeable future. Best of luck with your venture!

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