Reyneke Biodynamic Syrah 2012 vs Reyneke Organic Red 2012

June 12, 2014
by Christian
in What I Drank Last Night
with 7 Comments
Dark and light.

Dark and light.

I was a huge fan of the maiden 2010 and 2011 vintages of the Biodynamic Syrah from Reyneke Wines in Stellenbosch but there’s something decidedly odd about the current release 2012 (approximate retail price R90 to R100 a bottle). Black fruit and spice as you’d hope for but also tilled earth, dank vegetal notes and even mint. It’s rich and broad with moderate acidity and frankly lacks definition. Score: 84/100.

If you’re looking for everyday drinking with some personality then you’d be much better served by the Reyneke Organic Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (approximate retail price R55 to R60 a bottle). A blend of 92% Shiraz and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, grapes were sourced from organic vineyards around the Western Cape. It has a pretty nose of red fruit and fynbos while the palate is medium bodied with fresh acidity and lightly grippy tannins. Score: 86/100.

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7 Comments

  1. Roland PeensNovember 2, 2014 at 1:10 pmReply

    I am back on the Reyneke Syrah 2012. Sorry. There continues to be seriously divided views on this sub-R100 humdinger. Neal Martin of the Wine Advocate has just given it 93 points, a cracking score no matter the price.
    ‘The palate is crisp and taut, almost Cornas-like, very linear and structure with great precision on the white pepper dashed finish. This is a sublime Syrah – genuine class.’ Says Neal.
    It definitely went through a dip a few months back, but perhaps that’s the nature of these biodynamic wines. Try and keep a bottle open for 3 days and it really starts to sing. I can’t think of any wine at this price that intrigues your palate with every sip.

    I will say it again, this is the best bottle of wine under R100 anywhere!

  2. SmirrieJuly 24, 2014 at 5:37 amReply

    I had a bottle of this wine yesterday. I really enjoyed it. I then remembered about this post and thought I must investigate the score Tim Atkin gave it in his newest report. 94 . Maybe a tad high but for my taste not lower than 92.

  3. ChristianJune 14, 2014 at 8:00 amReplyAuthor

    To add to the mystery, I finished the bottle first tasted on Wednesday last night and it was much more pleasing. Was this because Wednesday was a leaf day and Friday a fruit day in terms of the lunar calendar or had the wine simply enjoyed the benefit of some air?

  4. RyanTheWineGeekJune 13, 2014 at 5:05 pmReply

    Hi Guys,

    As we all know wine is complex and it evolves throughout it’s life in bottle, thankfully it is not a static thing. Syrah in particular I feel is prone to entering a dumb phase some 8 – 10 months after bottling. A phase in which it can stay until the wine starts to open up into the ideal drinking window. This is something I discussed with Alain Graillot who makes some spectacular Syrah in Crozes-Hermitage (in the Rhone valley region of France), he shared that his wines close down after a few months to a year from bottling and will generally stay there for a period of time that depends on the vintage. As the wine conditions itself to living in a bottle the brighter fruit and spice aspects can be muted. The wine is not fundamentally changed, just asleep after being moved from small barrels, blended into a much larger container and passed through a bottling line before being sealed in a very small container.

    I feel 2012 was a particularly good vintage for the Reyneke Syrah and with some time in bottle it will unwind and and the and flesh of the wine will show rather than just the bones.

  5. SmirrieJune 12, 2014 at 10:42 amReply

    Wow this one if the first instance i know where the guys of Winecellar -Roland Peens and Co differ so much from your tasting notes.

    There tasting notes are : “The 2012 has just been released; it’s the best vintage yet and you can buy it for under R100 ($9)…”

    “Their 2012 Biodynamic Syrah bursts with Rhône-like spice and fragrance and is packed with luscious red berry fruit, terrific depth and a savoury edge. The tannins are slightly crunchy, no doubt from whole bunch fermentation, adding texture and structure for ageing. It is a cracking wine that is hard to beat in any market under R100. Drink from 2015-2026″

    84 is an extremly low score .

    I honestly don’t know the wines of Reynecke so well to provide my personal non educated guess.

    But damn i hope it taste better than a 84.

    • ChristianJune 12, 2014 at 11:20 amReplyAuthor

      Hi Smirrie, I’ve had the 2012 a few times now and while I wouldn’t say it’s technically flawed, it’s pretty bloody idiosyncratic. The TA is relatively low (4.8g/l) and the pH relatively high (3.83) which might have something to do with the lack of clarity I discern or it might simply be those pesky cow horns that biodynamics requires you to bury.

      • Roland PeensJune 13, 2014 at 1:01 pm

        Rather coincidentally, I have opened 2 bottles of the Syrah 2012 this last week and I have noticed a change in the wine. Upon release it was frankly spectacular, showing precise fruit definition, character, structure and poise. But lately, far more savoury aspects are showing up; bacon fat, olives and a spicy edge seems to be interfering with the tannins and finish. I don’t believe its quite an 84, but certainly I wouldn’t praise it now as I initially did.
        After speaking to Ryan Mostert, the winemaker, he assure me the wine was properly filtered and is well within any kind of spoilage levels. It does have a high pH which could potentially affect stability. But then many fine wines around the world hold pHs of around 4. Is it the biodynamic nature of the wine and the fact that it is more likely to move through different phases within its early life? Will it change back? This I can’t say, and, frankly can’t understand. I have many cases stashed away for future testing, so only time will tell.

        Ryan?

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