Frans K. Smit White 2017
‘This Bordeaux-style white offers harmoniously balanced, subtly articulated flavours. Soft and refined, it’s round at the edges and has traces of the unexpected ̶ like fig leaves on the nose and the merest hint of elder flower. This complexity of flavours comes from very selective sourcing and attention to detail. The presence of oak is a barely-there sensation, on the nose rather than the palate. This stirs yet more complexity into its wonderful creaminess – a trait I like to call ‘white tannins.’
- Frans K Smit, Cellar Master, Spier
John Platter Wine Guide 2020 - 4.5 Stars
Tim Atkin Annual South African Report - 94 Points
THE WINE & THE MAKER
Frans Smit and his winemaking team have harnessed 3 centuries of winemaking history, transforming Spier from a small cellar in the Eighties into a top award winning Stellenbosch producer. Crafting blends of distinction, and identifying regional vineyards that are some of the Cape's best kept secrets. ‘Respect what the vineyard hands you’ is his mantra.
FKS: ‘The wine has a clean line of freshness, balanced acidity and an alluring complexity. This is the result of great care-taking in the ageing process, a long time on the lees, back-blending and the use of a very lightly toasted barrel that brings tannin into the picture without any overwhelming vanilla presence. Nothing too sharp or intrusive. It’s clean, fresh, refined and rounded.’
SOIL & TERROIR
FKS: ‘The Sauvignon Blanc is cultivated on south-east facing slopes in Durbanville, from vines rooted in deep, rich, water-retentive Malmesbury shale. In this dryland situation, the roots strive to absorb every last drop of subterranean moisture and minerality, resulting in a berry with great strength of character. The Sémillon is from an equally gentle home. Steep Helderberg slopes on the cool eastern side of the mountain make this terroir very hospitable to the vine. Being on a steep aspect, the rich Hutton and Clovelly soils catch plenty of run-off from the mountain in winter. Added to this, the grapes in both coastal locations are spared the brutality of the midday summer heat, as coastal air ow keeps things temperate. Full phenolic ripeness and flavor concentration develops unhindered.’
FKS: ‘In the cool of first light, the grapes were hand-harvested in small lugs and pre-cooled before sorting and crushing began. The Sauvignon Blanc was harvested at optimum ripeness, with pleasing natural acidity and hearty tannins. The Sémillon came off the vine at 22-22.5 Balling, just as acidity peaked. Not a moment sooner ̶ or later. Timing is the thing. Using only free-run juice, allowing 6-8 hours of skin contact on the press, and a long stint on the lees. All contribute to the accomplished avour pro le. And of course, barrel blending to correct percentages, before fermentation begins.’
FKS: ‘One large, lightly toasted foudre barrel was used for the fermentation – aged on the lees, for 14 months. By the time juice met bottle, it was already beautifully integrated.’
Pale straw yellow with nuances of green at the edges.
NOSE & PALATE
A discernable citrus and lime palate ̶ more tropical than herbaceous ̶ and surprising hints of elder flower. The herbaceousness is more prominent on the nose than on the palate. After decanting, a touch of vanilla rises up through the layers. With ageing, this vanilla is likely to fade into the background. While already intriguingly complex, this vintage promises to become increasingly layered over the next 4-5 years.
EAT & DRINK
This wine will show best at 5 – 8 years after harvest. Pair with fillet of cob or kingklip, with butter and citrus or lemongrass; or whole steamed lobster with butter sauce.