Yesterday a tasting to mark 10 vintages at Saronsberg in Tulbagh. “Total production of own-label wine is 22 000 cases. We’ve deliberately opted not to grow too quickly as that leads to mediocrity,” says winemaker Dewaldt Heyns. There are some 50ha under vineyard with Shiraz making up 50% of the planted area.
Heyns’s winemaking style has always been emphatically modern but there’s no questioning the undercurrent of quality which runs through his wines. Stand-out wines for me on the day were as follows:
Saronsberg Grenache 2011
Average age of vineyards: eight years. Matured for 18 months in French oak, 20% new. More forceful than most other local examples, this wine shows red and black fruit, violets and spice. Full-bodied with driving acidity and fine, spicy tannins.
Saronsberg Shiraz 2011
20 months in French oak, 90% new. Powerful yet precise and well-balanced. Plenty of fruit weight, bright acidity and good grip. Not much nuance (despite being from multiple clones and rootstocks) but impresses with super-concentrated red and black fruit.
Saronsberg Full Circle 2011
80% Shiraz, 13% Grenache, 5% Mourvèdre and 2% Viognier. Different vinification for each component, a total of 20 months in oak. More detail than the straight Shiraz – red and black fruit, spice, fynbos and oak-derived vanilla. Sweet with relatively soft although not slippery tannins. Nice freshness. Modern but not vulgar.