Serious Sémillon

Celebrate Heritage Day with the Cape’s lesser-known heritage grape.

In the early eighteen hundreds, more than ninety percent of Cape vineyards were planted with Semillon. Although I strongly doubt whether humble oom Koos had any ambitions of grandeur or any hope that their simple Cape grapes would ever be consumed alongside the Haut Cuisine of European courts and rather planted the pragmatically named “Groen Druif” because it was easy to grow and produced high yields, who knows, but perhaps they were onto something.

From proliferation to obscurity Groen Druif has since been ruthlessly uprooted and now barely clings on to the viticultural fringes. Although when ambitious winemakers turn their hand to this forgotten varietal it would seem they almost effortlessly make outstanding wine. A fact made evident by the remarkably high levels of five star wines per category for coming on a decade now!

Esoteric, near impossible to pronounce correctly by native Afrikaans speakers, perhaps why they renamed it, equally impossible to pronounce correctly without sounding pretentious and harder to sell than prosciutto in Palestine. Shy and reserved in its youth, Semillon refuses to be instant gratification and demands patience before showing it’s true potential.

In this week's very limited release mixed case we have three superlative examples showcasing three very different styles of Semillon.