Stellenbosch Syrah 2015-min

Varietal: 97% syrah, with 2% co-fermented viognier and roussanne and 1% petite sirah
Rootstock: Richter 110, 99
Fruit source: from our own Oude Nektar farm in Jonkershoek Valley
Yield: 6.5 tons/hectare
Total production: 16720 bottles
˚B at harvest:  24-25˚
Alcohol:  14.5%
Total Acid:  5.1
Residual sugar: 2.5
Total extract:  28.5 g/l
Age of vines: 19 years average at harvest
Trellis: 5-wire vsp
Irrigation: drip irrigation
Vineyard elevation: 240 & 310m
Slope: South West

Details of vinification and oaking:

This is a blend from 3 different vineyard blocks at different elevations on our Jonkershoek Valley farm. The higher elevation vineyards have a finely textured decomposed granite soil and tends to produce a more elegant wine with softer tannin, while the lower vineyard is very rocky and gives a denser, fruitier, more tannic wine. The grapes for this wine were hand-harvested in late-February and cooled overnight to 14 degrees C., before being carefully hand-sorted and crushed into small open fermentation vats. The must was cold-soaked for a couple of days before being inoculated with a mix of domestic and imported Rhône yeasts. About 10% of the wine was whole-bunch fermented with the stems. Regular, vigorous punchdowns were given every 4 hours for the first half of fermentation, then every 8 hours thereafter. At dryness (average 7-10 days), it was basket pressed and racked directly to barrel for malo-lactic fermentation and subsequent barrel maturation. A mix of coopers was used, all French oak, all 300-litre, mostly second-fill (about 20% new). After 22 months barrel maturation, the wine was bottled without fining and without filtration.

Winemaker’s comment:

This wine is primarily built around a very stony vineyard that just seems to produce better and better quality as the vines age. Typically of our vineyards, it makes an elegant, floral wine rather than a big in-your-face style. From the previous vintage we started to introduce a small amount of co-fermented viognier and roussanne. Although co-fermenting roussanne is not very typical, it is allowed in Hermitage and adds a finely textured tannin. This wine has a deep purple-tinged colour. Concentrated dark fruit aromas with liquorice and violet and white pepper notes. The palate is rich and broad with layers of fruit and a fine-grained tannin structure.