Shiner Syrah 2014
By Christian Eedes, 8 June 2016
Vilafonté winemaker Martin Smith also makes some own-label wines, one of which being Shiner, which he describes as “all my trials of that year for which I have no home”…
The 2014 vintage is a blend of 90% Syrah, 5% Carignan and 5% Mourvèdre, grapes from a property situated against the Witzenberg in Tulbagh. “The vineyards are planted on shale and really needs to fight for survival. They produce a very small crop every year, about two tons a hectare”. Fermentation was spontaneous and a 100% whole bunch, maturation lasting 14 months in old 225-litre barrels.
Mention, too, must be made of the packaging, a screen print of a boxer, the back label reading simply “Working man’s champion”. Price: R123 a bottle.
Forgive the turn of phrase, but it’s knock-out. Red and black berries, lilies and scrub as well as darker, more brooding notes of earth and liquorice. The palate possesses lovely fruit purity, fresh acidity and fine, properly ripe tannins while the finish is long and intensely savoury. Smith is a master technician as the wine he makes for Vilafonté show but here he seems to be operating with just a little more flamboyance – the result is a beautifully judged wine, neither too polished nor too rustic.
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