Haskell II 2009 is the new red in the range from the Stellenbosch property where Rianie Strydom is winemaker and at R160 a bottle is aimed at the punter who wants to have the Haskell experience but might find Aeon Syrah 2008 at R290, Pillars Syrah 2008 at R400 and Bordeaux blend IV 2007also at R400 out of reach.
The name “II” is a reference to the principal varieties namely Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, blends from these two varieties well established in Australia. Strydom says she was initially reluctant to pursue such a wine as she prefers to work within the French tradition and combining Cab with Shiraz is not one which has much endorsement from the French, at least not officially.
She’s come around, however, The Expatriate 2009 which sold at the Cape Winemakers Guild Auction this year featuring 51% Cabernet Sauvignon and 49% Shiraz (fetching an average price equivalent to R270 a bottle).
The generally available II, meanwhile, is a blend of 50% Shiraz, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% of Mourvèdre from the 2010 vintage added to give “another twist” to the blend. It spent 15 months in French oak, 40% new. I noted red and black fruit as well as mocha on the nose and palate. This is a rich, lush, opulent wine with moderate acidity and smooth, soft tannins. Very good in its style but not particularly to my taste. Score: 16.5/20.