Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Simonsig 2001 Shiraz (South Africa)

Tonight was an experiment in aging South Africa.  Many have noted that in young South African wines there's a note of tar and/or brett, in general a dirty note that is not always welcome.  I have talked to South African winemakers and my favourite answer to date was "dirty barrels", as in "they are using dirty barrels", implying of course that their competitor is making wine improperly while WE are doing it the right way ... the funny part of the conversation was that I was smelling the exact same smell in their wine as well, so I just nodded my head as if I understood and moved on to another wine.  Now I am not sure where the smell comes from, it could just be the terroir of South Africa or that they are making wines too close to the roadway, but I have learned to live with it and expect it (which is why I seem so surprised when I don't find it).  Have no fear it was here in the glass and on the palate, but what I have noticed is that as these South African wines age they develop more interestingly than the average bottle of Chilean or Argentinean wine.  The nose was an earthy very smoky number; the palate was full on earthy also while giving off some minor pepperiness to the tongue.  Then about 20 minutes on there seemed to be some smoked raspberry that appeared on the mid-palate which then led to a very smoky finish.  I have to admit that it was not a good pairing with BBQ chicken, but it was an interesting wine to have all on its own.

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