Simonsig’s Chenin Blanc, from the Stellenbosch region of South Africa, always represents great value and is always worth looking for. In 2008, drenching rain in February encouraged the development of botrytis (“noble rot”) in the vineyards, resulting in additional complexity in the wine, which is still completely dry. So, the Simonsig Chenin Blanc 2008 offers a radiant pale yellow-gold color and beguiling aromas of lemon balm, pear and melon with an engaging amalgam of earthy minerality and balletic hints of ripe stone fruit and little waxy white flowers. In the mouth, the wine is vibrant and resonant, its citrus, melon and pear flavors couched in a dense, chewy texture that’s close to luxurious, though tempered by rousing acidity and bastions of limestone. The finish, not surprisingly, is stony and austere. This is almost too good, too structured to waste as an aperitif — yes, many fine wines serve admirably in that function — but the Simonsig Chenin Blanc 2008 really requires assertive seafood dishes like grilled bacon-wrapped shrimp, tilapia tacos, cod and chorizo stew and such. Very Good+ and a True Bargain at about $12.

Imported by Quintessential, Napa, Cal.