The traditional home of the Shiraz (or Syrah as it is known in France) and Viognier blend is in the northern region of the Rhône Valley, called Côte-Rôtie. This blend can however also be found in other areas and in new world wine countries, such as Australia, the USA and South Africa.
The birth of this blend was quite natural. Viognier (a white wine grape) and Shiraz grow alongside each other in Côte-Rôtie and winemakers there historically fermented the grapes together. Certain white wine grapes when fermented together with red wine grapes ensure better colour stability. This together with the aromatic dimension that Viognier adds to wine made it a popular blending partner with Shiraz, wider than the Rhône valley.
At La Motte, the duo of CEO Hein Koegelenberg and Cellar Master Edmund Terblanche (who is also the chairman of the SA Shiraz Association) is passionate about Shiraz with a dedicated focus towards growing, blending and maturing this varietal.
Since introducing its Pierneef Collection in 2003, the estate’s premium range, limited in supply and made from grapes obtained from site-specific vineyards, included a Shiraz Viognier blend. The Pierneef Shiraz Viognier has become a very successful wine for La Motte, winning numerous international awards and accolades since the very first vintage.
A regular gold medal winner at international wine competitions such as Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, the International Wine Challenge, Mundus Vini, Michelangelo, Syrah du Monde and Decanter World Wines Awards, the Pierneef Shiraz Viognier lists accolades such as the International Wine Challenge Trophy (2005 vintage), 5 Star John Platter ratings in 2012 (2009 vintage) and 2013 (2010 vintage), 2008 Veritas Double Gold (2006 vintage) and Top 100 Wines of South Africa in 2012 and 2013 (2009 and 2010 vintage) among its achievements. (Attached please find detailed awards list)
A very important part of this blend is the percentage of Viognier used. In France, the Viognier component is permitted to constitute up to 20% of the blend although the percentage incorporated is usually much lower to prevent the wine from being unbalanced.
The 2010 Pierneef Shiraz Viognier vintage is a blend of 88% Shiraz and 12% Viognier with the Shiraz from Bot River in the Walker Bay region (35%), Elim (35%) and Franschhoek (18%) while the Viognier originates from Franschhoek.
Grapes from the various Shiraz vineyards were harvested at different times and always together with a portion of Viognier. The grapes were hand-sorted and fermented without stems. Regular pump-overs were performed during fermentation at approximately 25°C. The wine was matured in 300-litre French barrels for 14 months (70% new oak). After blending the wine was returned to the barrel for another four months.
Despite the flamboyant flavour of the Viognier acting as a lively complement to the spiciness of the Shiraz, the Pierneef Shiraz Viognier stays classic with an understated elegance. Intended for the connoisseur who appreciates the success of a highly rewarding wine, liquorice and green pepper spice combine with the juicy notes of raspberry and cranberry as well as the rose-petal perfume of the Viognier, for a wine that is full of flavour and complexity.
Analysis: 2010 Pierneef Shiraz Viognier
Alcohol - 13.7% vol
Residual sugar - 2.7 g/l
Total acidity - 6.2 g/l
pH - 3.6
The 2010 Pierneef Shiraz Viognier is available at the cellar door or to order online for R199 per bottle.