Damascene Stellenbosch Syrah 2021
Syrah grapes were sourced from three distinct vineyard sites in the Stellenbosch district. The first two vineyards are both situated higher than 300-metres above sea level, planted with SH9 and SH22 Syrah clones. The soils are dominated by decomposed granite, and each site brings its own nuance and complexity to the wine.
The third vineyard is nestled down in the cooler part of Devon Valley, on deep Oakleaf soils. The vineyard on the Polkadraai Hills was planted on a southeast-facing slope in 1996 and contributes most of the perfume and spice to the wine. Structure and fruit intensity comes from a vineyard of lowyielding granitic soils in the Bottelary ward; a ‘mother unit’ planted along a northwest aspect in 2001. The vineyard in the Devon Valley lends some striking acidity and white pepper to the final wine.
Winemaking & Maturation
To showcase the impact of site in the formation of a Stellenbosch Syrah, the harvested fruit was separated into numerous smaller fermentation batches, with the whole cluster fraction of each batch ranging from 60-75 percent per vessel. Tulip-shaped concrete fermenters and 1000-litre conical shaped French oak vats received pump-overs two or three times per day. The remaining two 1000-litre conical oak vats were treated with the ‘submerged cap’ technique to enhance the body and fruit concentration of the wine.
A unique element in the final blend came from a portion that was kept aside as 100% intact whole clusters. This portion was stored under pressure for 30 days before pressing, undergoing carefully controlled carbonic fermentation in a sealed tank. There were no pump-overs or pigéage during fermentation, allowing this carbonic macerated component to contribute enormous purity of fruit and silky tannins to the final blend. All fermentations took place spontaneously with naturally-occurring yeasts. Malolactic conversion occurred spontaneously, with maturation in 2000-litre conical Austrian oak vats for 11 months. The wine was bottled without fining to ensure a more complex and authentic expression of Syrah.
This wine will be at its most expressive within five years of vintage but, with careful cellaring, will continue to evolve and improve for more than a decade.
Perfumed and spicy. Compelling aromas of violets, potpourri, and garrigue unfold over dark cherry, plum fruit and scented smoke. A large component of this Syrah hails from Karibib, a granitic site that lies in the path of a persistent cloud belt that runs over the top ridge on the farm. The resultant diffused light and cool temperatures safeguard the intense aromatic quality of the fruit from this vineyard. Brooding in the most delicate way, the fruit component of the wine is contoured and precise, carrying a real sense of presence, with a nervy quality at its core. Fruit from the Bottelary ward imbues backbone, adding inky cherries and plums, while Devon Valley’s bright strawberries refresh. Super silky tannins act as a lithe backdrop for all that complexity of flavour, melting gently into a detailed finish.
Alc: 12.74 %
Vol pH: 3.80
TA: 4.4 g/L
RS: 1.6 g/L
VA: 0.57 g/L