The Vera Cruz Shiraz 2009 from Delheim in Stellenbosch rates 5 Stars in Platter’s 2013. It was made by Brenda van Niekerk who was replaced by Reg Holder at the beginning of the year and Holder was keen to get some feedback on where he wants to take this wine, made from a 2.9ha bushvine block planted in 1992.
First Holder showed the 2009, 2001 and 1998 to give some perspective:
Red and black berries, oak-derived vanilla, penetrating spice on the nose and palate. Good fruit purity, bright acidity, smooth but not slippery tannins. Relatively medium bodied despite 14.5% abv. Luxuriously styled.
Spice and some developed character on the nose. Dark fruit and black pepper, slightly angular acidity, firm tannins. Rich and full. Good for a few more years.
Very expressive on the nose and palate: red berries, prunes, fynbos, some reduction. Lots of ripe fruit but simultaneously some “stalkiness”. Medium bodied, fine tannins. Drink up.
Going forward, Holder is intent on using less oak – the 2009 spent 18 months in 225-litre French oak barrels, 100% new. He pours a potential 2012, partly from new 300-litre barrels and partly from second-fill 225-litre barrels. It’s early days but the wine does seem to benefit from having less oak that the 2009 – the wonderfully concentrated fruit this particular vineyard seems to provide even more to the fore.