Porcupine Ridge Syrah 2015

Porcupine Ridge Syrah 2015

Aptly named.

Does it make sense to designate an entry-level wine as “Syrah” rather than “Shiraz”, the former term more highbrow and the latter more populist? Yes, in the case of Porcupine Ridge, this wine made by Boekenhoutskloof from Swartland grapes certainly more what you might expect from the Rhône rather than anything from the New World.

The 2015 (from R45 a bottle) shows red and black fruit, lavender and white pepper on the nose. The palate is medium bodied with fresh acidity and fine tannins, the finish possessing a certain olive brine quality. Not overly demanding but you could do a lot worse at the price.

Editor’s rating: 88/100.

Find our South African wine ratings database here.

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12 Comments

  1. Kevin RMarch 11, 2017 at 3:06 pmReply

    Agree with Andrew’s suggestions

  2. MarkMarch 9, 2017 at 1:33 pmReply

    Kwispedor, with some rough maths I figure that in your equivalent local terms the comparison between the two bottles would be like comparing a 75 ZAR with a 45 ZAR wine. You have inspired me to do some more budget end drinking to see how it stacks up against other £8-10 SA syrah/shiraz, I’ll let you know how I get on and if indeed it was just a duff bottle :) by the way your alternative perspective and comments are appreciated!

  3. MarkMarch 8, 2017 at 12:46 pmReply

    Actually Hennie,that was what sparked my initial post having drank both the meerlust 2013 and the porcupine ridge recently. I expected in contrast the porcupine ridge to be more like an 86.

    • ChristianMarch 8, 2017 at 2:51 pmReplyAuthor

      Hi Mark and Hennie, A problem with the 100-point system is that it gives wine scores the appearance of being absolute and minutely accurate. We should all remember that they are only a “snapshot in time”, which is to say context specific and more approximate than many a critic might like to admit.

      Porcupine Ridge seems to have engendered some debate about where good drinking under R50 is to be found and I’m glad about this – I would maintain that the quality relative to price really is remarkable relative to its peer group.

      The other point I would make is that 100-points is not really a linear scale, quality improvements becoming harder and harder to achieve the closer you get to the perfection implied by a wine earning a full 100-point score. The upshot is that the difference between Porcupine Ridge Syrah 2015 at 88 and Meerlust Rubicon 2013 at 90 is more complicated than might first appear…

      For more on the subject of scoring for value, read this excellent article by Andrew Jefford: http://www.decanter.com/wine-news/opinion/jefford-on-monday/jefford-wine-scoring-value-354423/

  4. MarkMarch 8, 2017 at 12:44 pmReply

    Thanks for the recommendations Andrew, they sound interesting and will check them out if I can get hold of them. in terms of pintoage I quite enjoyed Rijks Touch of Oak Pinotage which i believe is quite a modest price.

  5. MarkMarch 8, 2017 at 12:33 pmReply

    Hi Kwispedor, firstly let me prefix I’m just a casual wine enthusiast and nowhere the experienced taster I believe you are so there is a good chance you are picking up more elements in the wine than I :). Additionally to give context – the blind tasting was not SA centric – there was a range of styles on the table, However I am probably a fair representation of a typical (UK) buyer of this type/price level wine.

    bearing in mind that I am UK based so in fact when i went back to check the wine is not as cheap (as it is in SA) as I first thought – retailing at £9 (i originally thought it was around £6) so I would be even less likely to buy again..

    As an example of one of the other wines that was significantly more popular amongst all 8 drinkers on the night was The Islander – Kangaroo Island Shiraz 2016 (Australia) at £13 a touch more pricey but what i would consider to be in the same budget bracket.

    • KwispedoorMarch 9, 2017 at 12:44 pmReply

      Hi, Mark. Over here, the equivalent of a £4 difference would certainly put a wine in a completely different price bracket. Of course it could simply be a case of differences in taste (and in taste, there’s no dispute ), but I’m wondering if it could possibly have been a dud bottle. It happens… Happy drinking!

  6. HennieMarch 8, 2017 at 11:24 amReply

    well it only scored 2 points less than the Rubicon…

  7. AndrewMarch 7, 2017 at 11:00 pmReply

    Kwispedoor, I think finding good wines below R50 is the real fun akin to value investing in a overbought bull market. (Any mug can be considered an aficionado if they throw enough money at the problem)

    I think the Windmeul regular Shiraz and Pinotage are great value and well made. As are those from Perdeberg and Leeuwenkuil (their regular Shiraz in particular).

    • KwispedoorMarch 8, 2017 at 12:22 amReply

      Agreed re the Leeuwenkuil Shiraz, Andrew. Haven’t had the others in a while, but I recall a Windmeul Cabernet from 2001 being exceptional at the price. We don’t see much of these up in Gauteng. Thanks!

  8. KwispedoorMarch 7, 2017 at 10:36 pmReply

    I quite liked this at the price point when I had it last year. Following Mark’s comment, I cracked a bottle tonight. I must say that I think it’s fairly full-bodied, without of course any big tannins that would need time. It’s not edgy or super detailed, but I also liked the open, peppery (typical) nose and I also found a really nice savoury element to the finish, like Christian did.

    In an ideal world, I would probably have preferred that the grapes for this wine was harvested just a touch earlier, but at the price I still reckon it’s superb value. I think it’s important to have wine like this a bit cooled down for summer drinking.

    Mark: please share what other wines you guys had? I basically drink wine daily, so budget wines are also important to me. In this price range I enjoy wines like the Stellenrust Cab Sauv 2015, but if there are a whole bunch of sub-R50 reds that so emphatically overshadow this Syrah, I’m very interested to try them!

  9. MarkMarch 7, 2017 at 12:40 pmReply

    Blind tasted this the other day and sadly thought it was awful, yes its cheap and with good reason…

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