It’s the new-wave Swartland producers who are getting all the coverage when it comes to Shiraz, but it would be foolish to overlook established producers like Saxenburg in Stellenbosch in considering who our best practitioners are. Winemaker Nico van der Merwe has been at it since 1990 and has achieved almost countless accolades for his different versions. Last night, the 2003 vintage of the Private Collection, winner of the 2006 Shiraz Challenge as convened by the now defunct Wine magazine, which was a really top drop. Extremely flavourful with red and black fruit and plenty of spice including a pronounced coriander note. Also striking was its freshness relative to age. There were notes reminiscent of the Rhône but ultimately it had a heft about it that made it uniquely South African. Score: 18/20.