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Simonsig The Garland 2008

Big ticket item.
Big ticket item.

How to break the glass ceiling which exists when it comes to the price of South Africa’s top-end wines? Most critics agree that we are now making wine comparable in quality to just about anything in the world and yet our wines still sell at a significant discount.

One tactic producers seem to be employing is to release tiny volumes of “statement wines” at very high prices and the Garland 2008 from Simonsig is a case in point. A single-variety Cabernet Sauvignon, grapes were sourced from a select vineyard on the Simonsberg while it got the full treatment in the cellar, maturation lasting 26 months in French oak, 100% new. Total production was 1 500 bottles and Wine Cellar price per bottle is R1 395.

In colour, the wine shows a little bit of development, the outer rim starting to show browning but the nose and palate still remarkably intact. Red and black fruit, a definite herbal note but equally not violently green, graphite and spice. The palate meanwhile is full bodied yet possesses good freshness (more so than its 15%abv would lead you to think) and the tannins are fine, the oak well assimilated.

It’s classically styled and typically Simonsberg. Not particularly awe-inspiring but equally it’s not as brash as wanna-be “icon wines” often are. Winemaker Johan Malan suggests it will drink best from 2018 to 2022 but it would not be complete infanticide to drink it now and here I think Simonsig have been clever – by offering a pre-aged wine, they are filling a gaping hole in the market. They’ve made the best Cab they are capable of, kept it back as long as possible and are now asking a premium price for a finite quantiy. I suspect they will have no problem at all selling it.

Score: 91/100.

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  1. Do you think the Cape Vintner Classification will help towards achieving higher prices for more producers? Will it be a tier system where a producer with a particular CVC status may charge between Rx and Ry? Do you think they will control prices this way?
    Sorry, many questions :)

    • Hi Ryan, I think that CVC is either still born or the slowest burning marketing concept I’ve ever seen. Sorry, straight answer :)


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