2017 Pierneef Syrah Viognier
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This wine is a blend of 95% Shiraz and 5% Viognier. The Shiraz component is from Elim (90%) and Walker Bay (5%) while the Viognier (5%) originates from Franschhoek.
The preceding winter started late, but was cold enough to allow adequate dormancy. For the second consecutive year, rainfall was lower than average and irrigation dams were not filled entirely. Conditions for budding, flowering and setting were favourable (positive for harvest size), followed by a long, dry season (negative for harvest size). During ripening, cool nights were experienced (good for quality), while dry conditions still prevailed (disease-free and good concentration). Heat-waves did not present problems. The above conditions resulted in healthy grapes and good concentration, analyses and flavours.
The Elim vineyards grow in duplex soils with a high content of ferrocrete (coffee stone), the Walker Bay vineyards in shallow shale, and the Franschhoek vineyards in deep, sandy, decomposed sandstone and granite. Cool conditions in the Elim area resulted in a naturally low yield of about 5 tons/ha. The Walker Bay vineyards also produced a low yield because of dry, windy conditions and the shallow shale soils. The Franschhoek Viognier was chosen because of its late ripening and was harvested together with the Shiraz in order to co-ferment.
Grapes from the various Shiraz vineyards were harvested at different times. The Viognier grapes were added to some of the tanks. The grapes were hand-sorted and then fermented without stems. Regular pump-overs were done during fermentation at approximately 25 degrees Celsius. After about 15 days’ maceration, the free run and press wine were placed together into 300-litre barrels and matured for 14 months. 55% of the barrels were new. Blending took place and the wine was returned to the barrels for another 4 months before bottling took place in November 2018. 16 500 cases (6 x 750 ml) and 1 000 magnums were bottled.
Although high in yield this season, the Elim grapes produced intense colour and aroma — another good expression from some of the most southerly vineyards in Africa. Mulberry fruit and pepper spice are prominent, while integrated oak gives depth on the nose. Soft, silky and easy on the palate, with finesse and freshness on the finish.
Alcohol 13,8% Vol Residual sugar 2,8 g/l Total acid 6,0 g/l pH 3,46