Guest Explorer : Higgo Jacobs
A law graduate from Stellenbosch, Higgo was lured into the wine industry after his studies, and what was meant to be a sabbatical ended up as a way of life.
Certified with the Court of Master Sommeliers, Higgo consults to various establishments; judges on wine competitions and publications locally and abroad, and tries his hand occasionally at writing.
Although one of the Cape’s true heritage white varietals, having its origin here from as early as the 17th century (when it became known as Groendruif which translates as Green grape), and having accounted for more than 90% of our plantings in the first half of the 19th century, Semillon has not quite taken off as a serious commercial category in single varietal form in the modern era. With nothing short of stunning wines being made from especially older vineyards (some of them centurions) and proper age-ability of the wines themselves, the savvy connoisseurs are already including Semillon in their reference when shopping for fine Cape whites. Also worth a mention is that the variety is already charming the market in secret in its role in beefing up the volume of our beloved Sauvignon blancs in legitimate amounts of supplement blending (wines still sold as straight Sauvignon blancs).
The best Semillons have juicy fruit with often an ethereal-like citrus perfume, fine texture, herbal interest (without being overtly vegetal!) and manage that holy grail of marrying intensity of flavour with finesse. If you’re not yet quite convinced, they also offer some of the best matching to food, and sommeliers absolutely love them.
Below are my current top 20 Semillons in South Africa (in no specific order):