As a relatively young (10 year old) winery, we enjoy taking the time to taste through our previous vintages and see how they are developing. On 22 March we invited a handful of guests and opened our vintages going back to 2008, paired with an international benchmark. Apart from the evening being a lot of fun, the wines were showing really well and we are convinced that the longevity of the Sijnn Wines will be one of the characteristics that set them apart from the crowd in the years to come. Here is a list of wines tasted and our thoughts:
Sijnn 2008 / Niepoort Charme 2008
2008 was our most difficult year at Sijnn with intermittent rain throughout the harvest season. We had to do a lot of sorting and some blocks were picked a little early. The wine is lighter than usual and we didn’t expect it to age very well but it’s really surprised us. The tannins have become more refined and the attractive aromatics have become more complex without losing freshness.
Niepoort is one of the most dynamic and leading producers in the Duoro with an extensive range of dry wines as well as the legendary fortifieds. Charme is the pinnacle with the aim to produce something with great elegance and a Burgundian like character. This it certainly does, and is also the reason I thought it would be an interesting match to our Sijnn 2008. It is a little less aromatically interesting than I remember it being a few years ago, but the palate is very refined now with lovely sweet fruit flavours going on & on.
Sijnn 2009 / Vega Sicilia Unico 2008
2009 was a great vintage in the Cape and Sijnn (Malgas) was no exception. This wine has been a real teenager – sometimes shining like star and sometimes sulking and brooding. Perhaps the most temperamental wine I’ve ever made. However, over the last 6 months or so it seemed to be coming of age, a strapping young beauty that is just starting to show itself. Rich & beguiling, we’ll really enjoy this over the next 10 years or so.
Vega Sicilia is Spain’s most famous winery and a global celebrity in the family of wines. 80% Tempranillo and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon from 50+ year old vines in the Ribera de Duero region. The 2008 has just been released and it tastes it. A massive wine rather overloaded with oak (American?). Rich & incredibly intense fruit (fresh, but very ripe) from a textural point of view drinking well, but really needs another 10 years to settle down.
Sijnn 2010 / Chateau Pibarnon 2011 Bandol
2010 was a big, fruity and quite forward vintage with broad appeal. Perhaps not as reflective of its site as our other vintages. It is now developing more complexity and moving closer to our more mineral, slaty Malgas character. Drinking well now, it feels like the layers will keep building for years to come. A favourite of many at the tasting.
Pibarnon is one of less than half a dozen iconic Mourvedre led wines from the Bandol region in the South of France. 90% Mourvedre 10% Grenache. Big and juicy with a hint of that wild gamey Mourvedre character. Needs a few years to integrate.
Sijnn 2011 / Guigal La Landonne 2011 Cote Rotie
2011 was a stunning vintage at Sijnn (Malgas) but very closed in its youth. For this reason we decided to keep this back for later release – probably next year.
We visited Guigal in 2015 and tasted all the 2011 single vineyard wines, which were exceptional as always. The La Landonne was the most impressive for me. 100% Syrah and structured like a fine Bordeaux, but rather backward and dominated by toasty new oak. The texture and intensity showed class, but I think it needs several years for the fruit to shine through.
Sijnn 2012/ St Cosme La Poste 2012
Perhaps one of the most interesting and delightful pairings. The Sijnn 2012 (our current release) is a more elegant, charming expression of our Malgas terroir. Youthful but appealing.
The St Cosme is a single 0.3ha. block replanted in 1963 (my birth year!) on limestone based soil. A really beautiful, elegant wine, but as it opens up the finish shows real power and length. Don’t be fooled, this wine will last decades. Next up: a taste off between this and Rayas!
Sijnn Free Reign I / Vega Sicilia Reserva Especial
Yet to be released: our first multi-vintage bottling from the 2009, 2010 & 2011 vintages. Mostly Syrah & Touriga Nacional with a few other contributions. This wine has been backward for so long and is only now starting to slowly emerge. We’ll most likely release it towards the end of the year.
The Vega Sicilia from the Ribera del Duero region in Northern Spain is actually not far from the Duoro region in Portugal and share some characteristics. This is the ultimate multi-vintage blend of 1996, 1998 & 2002 and was only recently released. A unique, amazing wine. Lifted aromatics and noticable volitile acidity from so many years in barrel, but not at all tired. Very complex and memorable. Curious to see this in 10 years time…