I’ve written a good deal about Hunter Valley Semillon from Australia lately and with good reason! But a South African tasting last week reminded me that the Cape can produced very accomplished Semillons too.
Quite different from the Hunter, the Cape’s cool climate regions produce wines which are closer in style to Margaret River or Bordeaux, perhaps because there’s a herbaceous edge suggestive of Sauvignon to these, my Wines of the Month, though both are 100% Semillon.
David Nieuwoudt Ghost Corner Semillon 2008 (Elim)
For those who enjoyed last week’s blog about Cederberg Bukettraube (see here) yes, this exciting wine is also made by David Nieuwoudt. A pungent nose shows dried herbs, sweet talc, lemon zest and pea pod which racily follow through on a lively palate with good length and mineral persistence. Great vitality and nuance. 13.5% abv. £17.20 at Bancroft Wines (incidentally, I notice that the 2007 vintage [not tasted] is £13.29 at Waitrose)
Steenberg Semillon 2010 (Constantia)
A rounder, riper textured palate shows subtle stone fruits, with hints of dried herbs, flint and smoke. A lovely, long, very poised wine; beautifully textured. 13% abv. £135.58 /case of 6 at Armit Wines.
Incidentally, Steenberg also make a very powerful Semillon/Sauvignon blend, Magna Carta, the 2009 vintage of which I’ll be including in a report of the highlights of last week’s tasting.