A new vintage of exceptional cool climate Syrah

Strandveld Vineyards, Africa’s southernmost winery in the Agulhas district, has released the 2011 vintage of its Rhône style Syrah, a fine testament to the exceptional wines that take root in the unique Elim terroir.

 

Shaped by a mild spring and summer fanned by unabating cool south-easterly winds with surrounding sea temperatures as low as 12° C for most of the summer months, the 2011 vintage has been pronounced “one of our coolest yet” by winemaker Conrad Vlok. 

 

Made almost entirely of Shiraz grapes with only a dash of Viognier (1%), the bunches were destemmed and the whole berries left to cold soak for five days prior to fermentation. The must was inoculated with a selected Rhône yeast strain once fermentation commenced naturally. To enhance skin contact and extraction, pump-overs took place thrice daily.

 

“I like to add a touch of Viognier to our Syrah as it enhances the floral nose of the wine and increases the spiciness on the palate. We only needed a small amount for the 2011 vintage as the very cool season prolonged ripening and increased hang time, with optimal phenolic ripeness achieved at just 13% alcohol. In a warmer vintage we would add a bit more – sometimes up to 6% – to soften the tannins,” says Conrad, who only produced 6 500 bottles of the 2011vintage, the 6th since the maiden 2006 Syrah.”

 

The 2011 vintage matured for 20 months in a special barrel selection of 40% new French oak resulting in a full bodied Syrah with spicy aromas layered with intense black berry fruit flavours and a rich palate with long, cool tannins, backed by well-integrated oak.

 

“This is, without doubt, a serious Shiraz that is elegant in structure. I recommend serving this bold red wine with roast beef, duck or venison – all of my favourites!” adds Conrad.