g.p.s. Klein River Syrah
Restrained, yet with intent and subtle power
100% Syrah made from clone SH1.
Twenty years ago, the first Syrah vines were planted in what is now one of the smallest wine wards in South Africa, Klein River. Traditionally used for sheep and wheat, 3 ha of virgin shale-derived Glenrosa soil was set aside for Syrah. These soils are normally the hallmark of warmer areas, but these vines nestle up against the Klein River Mountain range. The nearby Akkedis Valley provides a portal through which the cool sea breezes from the nearby Walker Bay penetrate, creating a mild meso-climate in summer.
Wines made from these vines have consistently won acclaim and awards, so I did not think twice when the opportunity to make wine from these 20-year-old vines came my way.
Restrained, yet with intent and subtle power, this vineyard exhibits high levels of rotundone producing piercing black pepper, powdery tannins complete with rich textures and a prodigious breadth of black-orientated fruit. The 2018 is deep magenta red, the nose evokes garrigue elements: wild lavender, citrus, and crushed black peppercorns. Enchantingly supple and sinuous palate with succulent, mouth-watering acidity the wine is already integrated with a delicate balance of bitter chocolate, powdery tannins, and juicy fruit: cinnamon, black raspberry, Chinese 5 spice, orange peel and hung game. Excellent long-lasting finish, this already polished wine promises much for the future.
The wine rested in barrel for sixteen months. A small number of artisanal coopers were selected from Burgundy and Rhone, with only French oak chosen. Importantly, this wine was micro-vinified as a separate batch. Over the years we have developed an algorithm to ascertain which coopers work best and how many new and used barrels are utilised. In 2018 45% was new oak; 89% using 500 litre barrels and 11% in breathable eggs.
Alcohol: 13.3% | pH: 3.58 | RS: 2.2 g/l
Platter's Wine Guide 2022
Bright garnet colour. Quite broad and generous on the nose. Easy and approachable already (although it finishes quite chewy) with a hint of the northern Rhône savour. A little more luscious than the Elgin Clonal Selection Syrah. Long and quite opulent though restrained overall. 2021-2028.
-Jancis Robinson MW
The 2018 Syrah GPS Series Klein River has a tightly wound nose of brambly black fruit, black pepper, juniper and wild hedgerow, well defined but a little recalcitrant. The silky-smooth palate is medium-bodied with lithe tannins and very fine depth. The mouth tingles with the pepperiness of this Syrah, which is reminiscent of a Cornas toward a finish that lingers in the mouth. A classy, delicious Rhône-inspired Syrah.
- Neal Martin, Vinous 2021
This impressive Syrah hails from the shale soils of the Klein River ward, close to Walker Bay, and is made with the Rhône Valley SH1 clone. Salty and perfumed, with savoury tannins, bright acidity and notes of fynbos, blackberry and dried blood. 2022-26.
-Tim Atkin MW, South Africa Report 2021