Stellenbosch is supposedly “Cab country” but turn off the R44 heading towards Wellington onto Knorhoek Road and it’s the Shiraz which really seems to shine. Carl van der Merwe used to make an outstanding version at Quoin Rock before his move to DeMorgenzon while Delheim has just had its Vera Cruz 2009 rated 5 Stars in Platter’s.
Then there’s nearby Muratie and on tasting the range recently, the Shiraz was again the stand-out wine. The Ronnie Melck Shiraz 2009 spent 22 months in a combination of 85% French and 15% American oak, 45% new. Red and black fruit, crushed pepper and spice and, with time in the glass, a floral note. Good concentration and fresh acidity. Full bodied but not overbearing, it’s good value at R110 a bottle. Score: 17/20.
It must be said, however, that the 2009 vintage of Muratie’s Bordeaux-style red blend called Ansela van de Caab is pretty damn fine, too (R175 a bottle). Consisting of 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot and 11% Cabernet Franc, the wine spent some 18 months in French oak, 45% new before being blended and returned to barrel for another six months. It’s forceful with intense fruit, fresh acidity and suitably firm tannins – quite tight now, I imagine it will start to ease up around two years from now and should provide reward for a good few years after that. Score: 17/20.