Paserene’s the Shiner is an intriguing white wine with multiple facets from the Franschhoek vineyard. In the wine industry, the term “shiner” is used for a bottle without a label, as you can see with this bottle which has been strikingly spray-painted. A local SA meaning to “shiner” is a blackeye which points to another facet of this wine, each vintage heralds a new chapter of the crime novel written by Martin Smith, Paserene’s winemaker.
The Shiner 2018 is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc (83%) and Semillon Gris (17%) from Paserene’s home vineyards in picturesque Franschhoek and is the second instalment of the novel. Semillon Gris is another fascinating element to the wine with a mutation unique to South Africa. The vines usually grow bunches of green grapes but will occasionally produce red bunches while the next year it will return to green. Semillon is one of SA’s oldest cultivars and was widely planted during the 1800’s. The latitude and terroir are significantly different from its original home in France, sparking the hypothesis that the vines changed the grape’s colour for protection from the intense SA sun.
Martin fermented the Shiner in old French oak barrels and allowed it to age for almost two years with a small portion in new oak. This gentle wooding integrates into a pleasing full-body weight on the palate. The nose has tropical fruits of ripe pineapple and honeydew melon with hints of caramelised banana. The nose also carries soft notes of chamomile, lilac and citrusy bergamot adding to the elegance of the wine. The nose translates to the palate and opens more of the tropical fruits, the herbaceous notes are elevated and lead to a light lanolin and baked apple flavour. The Palate has a full-body texture that is balanced by the bright Sauvignon Blanc acidity ensuring a long-lasting finish.
This wine can be enjoyed on its own as an aperitif and is bound to start a conversation. The Shiner is also an ideal food wine with its fruit-forward character full-body and supporting acid structure. It will effortlessly accompany a firm white fish, such as kingklip, with a rich citrus hollandaise and a side of grilled asparagus. This complex wine will also stand up to a heartier meat dish such as a fennel seed roasted pork belly with crispy crackling and fresh fennel and dill salad.
The Shiner is sure to make you and your guests stop and take note of this multifaceted wine, creating an unforgettable moment in time, one to be remembered with each mouthful.