Saxenburg Wine Estate is in one of the most southerly wineries in the Stellenbosch Wine Appellations. It is on the Southern edge of the Polkadraai Hills, overlooking False Bay from whence cometh the cooling breezes which ameliorate Summer heat in the vineyards and allow for longer hang time and thus more colour and flavour.
Saxenburg is owned and managed by the Bührer Family. Adrian and Birgit Bührer took ownership of Saxenburg in 1989 and set out to become the finest Shiraz producer in South Africa. Now in the hands of their children Vincent and Fiona, the Estate has achieved so much more. With Dirk van Zyl as their winemaker, the estate has moved into the stratosphere.
The estate has around 35% of its vineyards planted to Shiraz which gives Dirk much choice when harvesting the grapes for this wine. Vineyard blocks and part of vineyard blocks which grow on the warmer West facing slopes in poor soils with low yields are used for this gem of a wine. Once harvested the bunches are destalked and the grapes crushes. Fermentation took place in open top fermenters which allowed for pump overs and punch downs. After fermentation, the grapes were left in the wine for a further three weeks during which time malolactic fermentation took place. The wine was then taken for 12 months to 300 litre French oak barrels of which 18% were new. The wine was then prepared for bottling.
From a Bordeaux bottle, closed with natural cork. The label is elegant and minimalistic, saying no more than it needs to. In the glass, the wine is a dark bloodplum at the heart which pales out to bloodplum juice on a white plate colour at the edges. The aromas are of red and black berries and cherries, The spice one looks for in Shiraz is there, an undertow of sweet brown spices, cloves, cinnamon, a grind or two of black pepper and a whisper of fynbos herbaceousness. The palate has a golden thread of plum skin acidity running through it from entry to the long and gently waning aftertaste. The flavours are rich and concentrated, silken mouthfeel with the oak and ‘iron hand in velvet glove’ tannins well integrated into the wine. Dirk van Zyl, Saxenburg Wine Maker says the 2016s, in his opinion, are drinking beautifully now. An impressive glass.
The Saxenburg Private Collection Shiraz 2016 is superb as a quiet contemplative sipper. It comes alive with food. A tranche of beef, out of the oven or from over the coals, served with a good mustard sauce is the answer. Or just some good butter and fresh thyme.
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