The Foundry Syrah 2003 vs. 2007

The Foundry is a wine venture begun by Meerlust winemaker Chris Williams and business partner James Reid (MD of Accolade Wines SA, which owns Flagstone). First bottling occurred in 2001 and Williams says that if anything has changed since start-up then it’s been an effort on his part to intervene less in the winemaking process. “Originally I wanted my Shiraz to be big, broad, powerful and meaty – when you’re young you want to put a big stamp on whatever you do. Now I’m more inclined to let the vineyard come to the fore”.

Last night the 2003 of his Syrah next to his 2007. The 2003 including fruit sourced from both Stellenbosch and Paarl and including 3% Viognier from the 2004 vintage was matured for 17 months in 300-litre French oak barrels, 10% new; the 2007 exclusively from a Stellenbosch vineyard matured for 16 months in 300-litre French oak barrels, 14% new.

Both really impressive, but the older wine to my mind the more elegant with amazing freshness and fine tannins. The 2007 meanwhile seemed to have more fruit concentration and not simply because of its relative youthfulness. Nothing to separate them in sheer quality terms – both scored 17/20 – but interesting to ponder the roles which site, vintage and winemaker intention each play in determining the final product.

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