Hiking into the wild olive and stone pine forest above this Chenin Blanc vineyard, the presence of birdsong wafts across the vines, woven into the gentle breeze. The early farmers of the Simonsberg would have found this vineyard much as it is today, tucked at the top of the Southern Cross farm, nestled between the mountain and trees. The reason for a vineyard at this site speaks to the wisdom of old ways. Fed by sub-surface streams, the soil here is rich and the vines can access deep wells of water in the dry summer months. Chenin Blanc is a natural fit for this vineyard which rises above the valley and looks upon the snaking Berg River in the distance. Northeast exposure ensures early morning sunshine. The steep aspect of the slope and surrounding forest keeps the afternoon heat at bay. Birds love this vineyard. Franklin and guinea fowl nest in the surrounding grass. Shrikes, weavers, and bishops flitter from reed to reed in the nearby watercourse. Jackal buzzards soar majestically overhead on thermal eddies.
Working with this vineyard for the last decade, I have developed a deep respect for old vines. The vines yield little fruit, yet their age and large roots give the grapes intensity, complexity, and depth of flavour. The adaptation over years to the vineyard’s specific microclimate ensures consistency from vintage to vintage and buffers against seasonal stresses. The objective of the Simonskop Chenin Blanc is to accurately and faithfully preserve the fresh, naturalistic, and happy presence of this single vineyard into the bottle.