DeMorgenzon, the Stellenbosch property owned by high-flying Wendy and Hylton Appelbaum is getting plenty of a critical acclaim at the moment but I worry that some of the wines are a little too brazen, power triumphing over finesse.
Along comes the first Reserve red in the form of a Syrah 2012 (Wine Cellar price: R255 a bottle) and I’m happy to report that it seems very well judged, certainly not short on ripeness and weight but also possessing balance and complexity.
From vineyards planted on granite soils in 2004, the wine underwent spontaneous fermentation, including a small percentage of whole-bunch. Maturation involved 10 months in 300-litre French oak barrels and then a further 10 months in 3 000-litre foudre and cement tanks, total new wood amounting to 25%.
On the nose, red and black berries, intense spice and white pepper plus a little fynbos. The palate is full but the fruit definition is still very good, lemon-like acidity provides verve and the tannins are smooth but not too smooth. The winemaker is of course Carl van der Merwe, who previously wowed everybody with his take on Shiraz while at Quoin Rock. This DeMorgenzon recalls those wines but is that little bit more restrained and the better for it.