2018 Pierneef Syrah Viognier
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This wine is a blend of 95% Shiraz and 2% Viognier. The Shiraz component is from Elim (50%) and Walker Bay (30%) and Napier (20%), while the Viognier (2%) originates from Franschhoek.
The dry conditions during the preceding two seasons continued and casued the harvest to be 15% smaller than that of 2017. The preceding winter was cold enough to allow adequate dormancy, but started late. This delayed budding and, eventually, harvesting started approximately two weeks later than in 2017. Dry and windy conditions once again allowed the grapes to stay healthy, while cool conditions once again allowed the grapes to stay healthy, while cool conditions promoted flavour retention. In some areas damage was caused bt frost. Production in Elim was much lower as a result of hail damage in November.
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. 50% of the barrels were new. Bottling was in November 2019. 16 000 cases (6 x 750 ml) and 500 magnums were produced.
For the first time, Napier grapes were used in this blend. Syrah from Napier has the same spicy and perfumy characteristics as Elim Syrah. The wine shows intense red flower perfume, with aniseed spice. Mulberry fruit and savoury leather complement the complex nose. The palate is characteristics of a typical cool climate, with medium body, and fine tannins adding a lively presence. Green Peppercorn spice on the palate contributes to a lengthy finish.
Alcohol 12,81% Vol Residual sugar 2,6 g/l Total acid 5,9 g/l pH 3,41