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Producer: Swartland WineryGrape Varieties: Syrah 100%Optimum Drinking: Within 6 yearsWine Style: Complex spicy redAlcohol by Volume: 14%Closure: Natural CorkCountry: South Africa
A forthcoming, complex nose with an earthy bouquet of forest floor, spices, sweet scented violets and an earthy smokiness complemented by red berry fruit. Beautifully
Big open skies, arid deserts, the vast flowing landscape, with its unforgiving climate and rugged bush vines, this is wild country, this is Swartland. The contrast with manicured Constantia and oh-so-cool Stellenbosch couldn't be greater. But right now, Swartland is the most exciting wine region in South Africa. A new wave of winemakers are making ground-breaking wines from Rhône varietals and it is part of a revolution that has got everybody talking. The Swartland Winery is producing iconic and award winning wines in this fashionable and dynamic region, so we have joined forces with them to create a unique, distinctive and expressive wine range that has been masterfully blended for the UK palate. We think something this good, is definitely worth talking about!
The 2014 vintage in Swartland was challenging, it was a very wet winter, which followed through into the early growing season, so yields and canopy sizes were up. The growing season was predominantly cool and coupled with the higher crop yield, the harvest started a couple of weeks later than usual, but with amazing acidity levels. A heat-wave hit the region just as harvesting started, so the producers worked flat out to get everything in on time. The incredible acidities of the grapes picked early, compared to those picked later, with slightly lower levels, meant it was a year for blending to achieve the perfect balance.
The Swartland name originates from a description of the indigenous "renosterbos" or rhino bush, which appears to turn black, ("Swart" in Afrikaans), during the summer months. This hot, dry climate has an average temperature range of 25°C to 35°C and an annual rainfall of 450 mm and 600mm, but the altitude of these vineyards creates a cool oasis in this arid landscape. Minimal intervention and environmentally friendly farming practices are paramount. Sowing cover crops between the vines provides protection from the winter rains and also maintains the valuable mineral content, nutrients and moisture during the hot summers. 80% of the vineyards are small bush vines with an average yield of six tonnes per hectare; the quality of fruit is exceptional. The soil types vary, but Malmesbury Shale dominates, with small patches of granite and Table Mountain sandstone. The gravel sub-structure of the soil promotes good moisture retention, essential in this hot, dry climate.
The grapes came from 100% bush vine vineyards with an age range of between 25 years to 40 years. The berries were harvested at optimal phenolic ripeness and then fermented at temperatures of between 24°C - 26°C. Aggressive pump overs and aeration took place during the first half of the fermentation, which gradually became shorter in frequency and duration. 0.5 grams/ litre oak was added during the fermentation and extended skin contact was applied after fermentation. The wine was aged in 1st, 2nd and 3rd fill French oak, medium toast barrels for 12 months.
Silver Outstanding, IWSC,2016
Top 100, Wine Merchant, 2017
Silver, IWC, 2017
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