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Haskell Aeon Syrah 2008

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One more equal than the other?

As featured in the August issue of Business Day WANTED: Is Aeon Syrah from Stellenbosch property Haskell Vineyards doomed always to be discounted both in terms of price and reputation against Pillars Syrah from the same property? Both wines have immediately instated themselves as among the best examples of the variety in South Africa but while the 2008 Aeon sells for R290 a bottle from the farm and was rated 4½ Stars in Platter’s 2011, the same vintage of Pillars sells for R400 and achieved the guide’s ultimate accolade of 5 Stars.

Winemaker Rianie Strydom explains that Aeon comes from a single block of vineyard grown on clay soil and is consequently “richer, bigger and bolder”. Pillars, meanwhile, originates from a block on sandy soil and is “lighter with more elevated fruit”.

Tasting them side by side and there’s precious little to differentiate them in terms of quality although the stylistic difference is marked. Aeon is indeed fuller and more powerful but hardly overdone; Pillars is more fragrant on the nose and medium bodied on the palate. Of the two, Aeon is currently less approachable and probably most in need of some bottle maturation.

As for the pricing differential, Strydom says this is “unfortunate”. It’s an open secret that Aeon and Pillars are to be joined by a third rendition of Syrah from a block called Hades and then it surely must become a matter of three different but equally worthy expressions of the variety rather than greater and lesser wines. To order, call 021 881 3895, info@haskellvineyards.com

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