Cool Climate Elim Shiraz triumphs again at the Shiraz Challenge

Strandveld Vineyards has earned another top rating for their cool climate Shiraz in the Shiraz SA Challenge by securing a Top 12 position for the Strandveld Vineyards Syrah 2012. Last year’s competition saw the First Sighting Shiraz 2012 also achieving a Top 12 position confirming that 2012 truly was an exceptional vintage for Shiraz in this unique terroir and further endorsing Elim as a great site for cool climate Shiraz.

The Strandveld Vineyards Syrah 2012 is produced from a block of vines grown in white quartzite gravel soils. It is harassed by relentless, strong coastal winds which provide the important cooling effect for the vineyards at the southern tip of Africa. Referred to as the “weather station block”, this block of vineyard sits at an altitude of 80 to 100mabove sea level, one of Strandveld’s highest vineyard blocks. It is thus more exposed to the wind and even cooler due to the slightly higher altitude.

This vineyard produces Shiraz which is dark and intense in flavour with distinctive notes of white pepper, violets, savoury characters, less sweetness and long, fine grained tannins. Winemaker, Conrad Vlok, adds a touch of Viognier which he notes adds complexity, floral notes and spiciness, lifts the nose and softens the structure to create a superbly balanced and enticing wine.

“The 2012 vintage followed a dry Winter and a Spring without too much wind which delivered a crop in good balance. A very warm January was followed by significant amounts of rain at the end of February which broke the heat spell and cooled things down allowing the grapes to hang longer and ripen in perfect harmony achieving full phenolic ripeness and a good balance. This is definitely some of the best Shiraz ever produced at Strandveld. These ideal weather conditions together with the vineyard entering its prime age at 10 years after planting provided grapes with exceptional promise. In the cellar I made sure not to over oak the wine, using only 30% new French oak barrels, as wines from the area generally benefit from less vanilla notes and oak tannin.” Says Conrad.

The Strandveld Vineyards Syrah 2012 was also rated four and half stars in the 2016 Platter’s Wine Guide and is a very fine example of the Rhône style Shiraz which can be produced in the Elim wine ward. It is available for purchase from the Strandveld Vineyards tasting room, selling for R160, and is also available at fine wine shops and top end restaurants around the country.