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2021 Debutant Semillon

MSRP: $25.00
(You save $5.01 )
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South Africa
Western Cape
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The long name of this is De Klein Wijn Koop Debutant, and the label is mainly in Afrikaans, so I just made it easier by simply calling it Debutant.

For the third year running, this just earned South Africa’s most prestigious wine award, 5 stars in the Platter Guide (the “Bible of South African Wine”). But aside from maybe some of the rare (and super-expensive) bottlings from cult producer Eben Sadie, I don’t think there’s really any South African white to compare this to.

Rather, it reminds me of some of the very greatest examples of Australia’s greatest dry white wine (especially for aging), Hunter Valley Semillon. (The best examples of which don’t even make it to the US.) Like the Hunter Valley icons, it’s picked early and fresh (at only 11% alcohol) – and though it starts life relatively light and fresh, over the decades it will gradually unfurl into a wine of utterly massive, waxy/lanolin and textured dry Semillon richness and character.

That said, this South African example, from such incredibly ancient vines, and given three months in neutral oak, as well as some skin contact, is already (especially compared to say a young Tyrell’s Vat 1) quite rich and imposing. And almost painfully concentrated (to borrow an expression from Tanzer).

This is truly serious stuff. And though it’s not as full-blown and wide open as say a Kalin Semillon, it’s even more concentrated (which is saying something!).

Flat-out world class dry white wine, surely (as the Platter Guide recognizes) one of South Africa’s greatest, and just incredibly reasonable for what’s in the bottle.