Lightish cherry red. Sweet and lightly spiced red-cherry aroma, lifted and fragrantly inviting with just a hint of Syrah pepper, the oak very much in the background. Juicy, sweet red fruit – more the character of Grenache and Cinsault than the Syrah, until you taste the fine but definite tannins. This needs to be served cool to mitigate the alcohol but it is more accessible, more drinkable, at this young age than the Cabernet 2015 seems to be. Long, fresh and moreish on the finish. Still quite alcoholic but the fruit and freshness carries it, especially when the wine is served on the cool side. 17/20 Julia Harding MW of jancisrobinson.com
The Syrah is from a 15-year-old vineyard in Firgrove planted on decomposed granite soils and a 7-year-old vineyard in Voor Paardeberg planted on granite soils. The Grenache Noir is from Voor Paardeberg planted on granite soils. Cinsault comes from dryland farmed 25-year-old bush vines in Firgrove Stellenbosch planted on granitic soils.
The Paardeberg with its decomposed granitic soils produce wines of brutal freshness and purity with deep tannins, as well as distinctive spicy and herbal qualities. Firgrove again, ideal terroir for planting cool climate Syrah. The close proximity to the cold Atlantic Ocean ensures slow ripening. Sustained winds control the vigour resulting in an overall terroir effect of small bunches, small berries with concentrated berry flavours and full structured but ripe tannins.
The vintage was distinctively different and characterised by substantial drought conditions through the preceding winter and into the growing season. Winter started off late, but weather conditions were cold enough to break dormancy. Warm, dry conditions in Spring were extremely favourable for a compact bloom period, leading to outstanding evenness of maturity in all vineyard blocks. The hot pre-harvest weather conditions and early picking, made for a uniquely demanding vintage where adaptability was the key word.
The grapes ripened at lower sugar levels and the smaller berries resulted in good colour and intense flavour. Harvest started on the 2nd of February and concluded during the last week of February.
The severe drought conditions of the 2016 led to the smallest per-hectare crop on record, producing elegant, well-balanced wines for medium to long term ageing.
Matured in 1st fill (10%) – 4th fill 300 li and 500 li French oak barrels for 12 months.
The Voor Paardeberg and Stellenbosch terroir matched perfectly with the 3 varieties to showcase the remarkable fruit intensity, freshness and elegance of the distinctive varietals. Syrah adds the fresh red berry fruit, spices and structure, the Grenache Noir lends fresh fruit, elegance and structure while Cinsault contributes brighter fruit, acidity and freshness.
RS: 2.5 g/l