Appropriate that I should be writing about this wine today as today is International Shiraz Day. Shiraz ad Syrah are the same grape. They are given different names in South Africa as Shiraz tends to an all singing all dancing fruit forward blockbuster in the Australian Style all fruit and swagger. Syrah is usually in the more elegant style of the French. But this is not always the case. There is plenty of room for both. Many Shirazes of which I am very fond. The Oldenburg Vineyards Series Syrah 2015 is a stonker. My friends tell me to wait for the 2018 reds to come on the market, they are better than the 2015s a vintage widely considered to be the best ever for South African wines. The vintage took place in the midst of one of the worst droughts in the Western Cape in living memory. Surprisingly there were cooler conditions throughout February which allowed for slow, even ripening early in the season, contributing towards colour and flavour development. Warm and dry conditions before harvest accelerated ripening, producing grapes of the highest quality. Judicious irrigation and soils with excellent water holding capacity ensured the vines avoided water stress.
The grapes for the Oldenburg Vineyards Series Syrah 2015 were hand harvested and once in the cellar were gently handled and bunch sorted. After destemming and crushing the grapes were cool macerated for three days before fermentation. Once pressed, the wine spent 320 months in 300 litre French oak barrels. 40% of these barrels were new while the balance was made up if a combination of second, third, fourth and fifth fill barrels. The oaking in support of the fabulous fruit. The wine was then prepared for bottling and a total of 15, 293 bottles were filled.
From a Burgundy shaped bottle. Closed with natural cork. The elegant label depicts the 8 natural elements of the vineyard. In the glass, the wine is a dark bloodplum at the heart which pales out to ruby at the edges. The cherry berry fruit is the first aromas you get when you nose the wine, followed by the plums and roadside brambles. The entry shows a wine packed with fruit flavours, with the oak and its concomitant spices in support, with touches of dark chocolate. Broad mid palate. The long and gently waning complex aftertaste has firm tannins, fine acidity, great fruit all in perfect harmony. This is a laster and will benefit with a couple of years of cool cellaring to provide greater rewards.
The Oldenburg Vineyards Series Syrah 2015 is a food wine, or at least a serious sipper as a post prandial bottle around the braai fire, as the embers die down. As the evenings get cooler, we look for a warming comfort food dish and Ina Paarman’s French Beef Stew with Shallots is a great match for this wine. Click HERE for her recipe.
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