Rall Ava Syrah 2018

By , 10 June 2019



Donovan Rall’s new releases, from the 2018 vintage bar the red blend which is from 2017, are soon to hit the market and what a line-up they are.

Rall Cinsault Blanc 2018
Approximate retail price: R260
From Wellington grapes. Picked a little riper and left longer on the skins (eight days) than the maiden 2017 in order to achieve more substance. A hint of reduction plus peach and yellow apple on the nose. The palate has a creamy texture, moderate acidity and a gently savoury finish. More than a curiosity, this has a modest charm about it. Alcohol: 11.5%.

Editor’s rating: 89/100.

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Rall Grenache Blanc 2018
Approximate retail price: R260
From Piekenierskloof vineyard, harvest involved two picks, one at 19˚ Balling and another at around 22˚ Balling. Vinified mostly in concrete egg, the balance in amphorae. A pretty nose of lemon, naartjie and fresh herbs. The palate is very refined, almost dainty – alcohol a mere 12%. Excellent fruit definition and punchy acidity before a savoury finish.

Editor’s rating: 95/100.

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Rall White 2018
Approximate retail price: R320
70% Chenin Blanc, 26% Verdelho and 4% Viognier. Matured in old oak barrels of various sizes for 11 months. Some struck match character before pear, peach, citrus and apple plus some leesy character. Rich and very flavourful on the palate with just the right amount of texture, a great line of acidity lending drive. Alcohol: 13%.

Editor’s rating: 96/100.

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Rall Ava Chenin Blanc 2018
Approximate retail price: R465
From a Swartland vineyard on schist. A strong yellow fruit character plus some yeasty complexity on the nose. The palate is super-rich – awesome density, coated acidity and a savoury finish. Almost chewy in texture, this makes a huge impression.

Editor’s rating: 94/100.

Rall Cinsault 2018
Approximate retail price: R260
60% of grapes from the Swartland and 40% from Darling, vinification largely taking place in stainless steel tank. A gorgeous nose of rose geranium and fresh herbs plus cherry and wild strawberry. Light bodied yet possessing good fruit definition, this is clean, fresh and rather lovely all round. Alcohol: 12%.

Editor’s rating: 92/100.

Rall Red 2017
Approximate retail price: R320
75% Syrah, 15% Carignan and the rest Cinsault and Grenache. Bottled earlier than previous vintages to preserve fruit. Some reduction and quite earthy character before red and black fruit, herbs, pepper and spice. Full bodied with fresh acidity and firm tannins, this has a slightly rustic quality about it although it certainly isn’t short of flavour. Sweet upfront but very dry on the finish.

Editor’s rating: 92/100.

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Rall Ava Syrah 2018
Approximate retail price: R580
From a 2.4ha Swartland vineyard on schist providing a miniscule yield on account of the drought – total production 1 250 bottles. 100% whole-bunch fermentation before maturation lasting 11 months in old oak. An entirely compelling nose of red and black berries plus olive with notes of rose, lavender, fynbos and white pepper in the background. The palate displays extraordinary fruit density but also has a fabulous energy about – pure and fresh with ultra-fine tannins, this is absolutely thrilling to drink and to my mind even surpasses the wonderful 2017.

Editor’s rating: 98/100.

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2 comment(s)

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    James B | 5 July 2019

    Hi Christian,

    When would be the best time to have the rall red and the ava syrah?

      Christian Eedes | 5 July 2019

      Hi James, Both are delicious now but should you have the patience to keep them for three or four years, will definitely get better/become more resolved. After that, it becomes about your personal tolerance for developed flavours although I think they should easily make 2030.

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