Luddite Shiraz 2019

By , 29 August 2022

Drive through the village of Bot River in the Walker Bay district, turn up the Van der Stel Pass and you will soon encounter the property where Niels and Penny Verburg make their wines. They have some 9ha of vineyard, the two main varieties being Chenin Blanc and Shiraz but Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Mourvèdre are also cultivated.

The soon-to-be released Luddite Shiraz 2019 is the 20th vintage of this wine and it’s in the same distinctive style as ever – terroir is an ambiguous term but what ever else you might say about this rendition, it’s unlike anything you may encounter from Stellenbosch, Swartland or just about anywhere else.

Niels points out that 2019 was the last year of the infamous Western Cape drought that began in 2015 – yields were badly affected, and volumes of the Shiraz consequently dropped from 15 800 bottles in 2014 to 5 800 in 2019. While 2019 was indeed dry, it was also very cool – very small, flavourful berries resulted.

Including 4% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Mourvèdre, the 2019 spent 24 months in barrel, 10% new. Aromatics are evocative with notes of dark berries, lavender, black pepper, liquorice, clove and leather while the palate displays a dense core of fruit, bright acidity and crunchy tannins. Powerful, hearty stuff (alcohol is 15.01%) with loads of personality. Price: R890 a bottle.

CE’s rating: 93/100.

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