2004 Frans Malan Simonsig and 2006 Stirbey Novac
After the busy weekend with plenty of good wine and food, my conscience was recommending at least a few days of penitence with light food and no wine. Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be. Visiting the local Mega Image supermarket shopping for the usual groceries and waiting in the queue to reach the cashier, I stumble upon some good friends, Cristina and Dan, a couple that moved recently in the neighborhood. I guess MON is a common day to shop for food and replace the depleted reserves after the weekend for everybody. We haven’t seen each other for some time so we shortly decided to have dinner together at their place. I offered to bring at least the wine, and they gladly accepted.
I went home and picked a South African wine that I bought in 2008 and stored in my cellar ever since. I never tried this wine before so I was very curious about it. I uncorked the bottle and took a sip just to make sure that I do not bring a corked wine to our dinner. Even from the first sip, I was really impressed by this wine.
2004 Simonsig Stellenbosch Frans Malan Cape blend South Africa
Blend of 65% Pinotage, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Merlot aged in French and American oak. The wine won many prices as the several awarding labels from the front of the bottle show.
There is an opaque dark red purple color. The nose is well developed, intense, balanced with fresh ripe dark fruits: raspberry and mulberry, with smoke, cocoa, dark chocolate, licorice and a touch of spices building a sweet but interesting nose. The taste is full body, with good levels of concentration and glycerin, well balanced, with thick layers of dark fruits balanced by a good acidity, a touch of minerality-graphite, cocoa and mocha. There is intensity, multiple flavors, sweet ripe tannins and freshness in this wine. The finish is medium plus with mellow tannins that lift the fruity flavors and a beautiful dark chocolate-coffee bean bitterness in the aftertaste. Great balance of the 14.5% alcohol. 91 points
Our hosts liked the wine a lot. They also prepared a very good meal with Mediterranean dishes and the strong flavors of the wine matched the food well. The bottle finished pretty quickly – I guess this is the characteristic of any good wine- so Dan, our host, offered to open another bottle. It happened that he opened a bottle of 2006 Novac from Stirbey that I offered him as a gift a few months ago. This was another bottle that rested in my cellar for about 2-3 years as well.
The style of the Novac was on the lighter side, but it was really welcoming. This is an easy going wine especially after the concentrated South African blend. There was however a slight touch of cork taint in the Novac.
2006 Stirbey Novac
There is a clean ruby red color reminding of a more concentrated Pinot Noir. The nose is developed, with signs of maturity and showing very interesting aromas of ripe red cherry, red currant and warm earthy forest floor building a nice complexity. In the mouth the wine is medium body, with a great backbone of mellow tannins and good acidity, with soft aromas of red cherry, red currant, earthiness and tobacco. The finish is medium with a red cherry refreshing aftertaste. 85-86 points
I was taken by surprise by this wine and I can certainly say that the Novac has better drink-ability compared to the 1st wine, even though the aromas and flavors are not as intense. The bottom line is that the Novac came as a breath of fresh air. It is nevertheless a less commercial style and more of an Old world wine.
The night finished fairly late for a regular MON. I still contemplate if I should visit Mega Image again tonight or not for what I forgot to buy yesterday. You never know how the evening may change.
Thanks for reading!