Wine geek stuff about South Africa’s first bottle fermented sparkling wine Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year:
• Conceived by the late Frans Malan, it was originally made from Chenin Blanc and sold for R3 a bottle making it the most expensive white wine at the time
• It was only in 1987 that Frans Malan’s son and current Simonsig cellarmaster, Johan, introduced Pinot noir and Chardonnay and 10 years later, Kaapse Vonkel became the first Cap Classique to use all three of the traditional grape varieties used in Champagne when Pinot Meunier was introduced in 1997
• Current production is 300 000 bottles per year – sales are doubling every five years
Current release is 2009, a blend of 55% Pinot Noir, 43% Chardonnay 2% Pinot Meunier. It has a shy nose, while the palate shows citrus flavour, a fine mousse and bright acidity. The finish is long and dry. It’s elegant to the point of austere and should develop more complexity with some time in bottle. Score: 16/20.