2018 Gabriëlskloof Semillon 'Magdalena'
Western Cape, South Africa
85% Semillon and 15% Sauvignon Blanc, this is a uniquely South African take on a classic Bordeaux Blanc. Both the Semillon and the Sauvignon Blanc were fermented and matured in 400- and 500-litre old French oak barrels, and made oxidatively (whole bunch pressed) with minimal intervention (natural fermentation). Both wines spent about ten months on the lees before being blended and bottled. Some 20% of the wine was also matured in clay amphorae. Clear and brilliant. Notes of grapefruit, citrus, lime and complex lees derived aromas define the nose. The palate is richer and more layered than previous vintages, and the high acidity will guarantee freshness for years to come.
96 points, WineMag South Africa. "Finlayson is intent on positioning this wine more as a straight Semillon and less as Bordeaux-style white blend and hence the Semillon now makes up 85% of the blend (mainly from Franschhoek but also containing some own fruit) plus 15% Sauvignon Blanc. The nose is subtle and elusive with notes of citrus, stone fruit and some leesy character The palate is focused and super-intense with a great line of acidity while the finish is long and dry. Less esoteric than before? That's open to debate but this is wonderfully well realized."