Tyrrel Myburgh, winemaker at Paarl winery Joostenberg, seemed mildly surprised when I professed to like his 2013 Syrah (which now bears the moniker “Klippe Kou” on account of how rocky the vineyard) more than the 2012.
Both feature about 30% whole bunch fermentation and both have an alcohol by volume of 14% so not much to separate them on the face of it, however the wine from the supposedly lesser 2013 seems to be a truer reflection of all things Joostenberg than that from the celebrated vintage of 2012.
Joostenberg Syrah 2012
Black fruit, a certain olivaceousness and spice. A plush wine with plenty of fruit concentration and a smooth texture. Arguably a bit short on refreshment.
Winemag rating: 88/100.
Joostenberg Klippe Kou Syrah 2013
More red than black fruit and definite white pepper character. Medium bodied with clean, pure fruit, lemon-like acidity and firm but fine tannins.
Winemag rating: 90/100.