With significant plantings in South Africa – about ten per cent of the total area under vines – Shiraz is second only to Cabernet Sauvignon when it comes to red varietals here.
The grape is delicious and has its fierce devotees. Usually quite intense with deep, dark-berry flavours and aromas, and some characteristic spice to give it oomph, Shiraz is often used in blends, adding its own personality to some of our favourite red blends. Don’t be confused by the use of the name Syrah – it’s the same thing.
There are some superb examples of this wine locally, a fact the annual Shiraz Challenge recognises. The competition is fierce to be included on the winners’ list as one can see by the inclusion of some of the best- known wine makers. The winners were announced at Rhebokskloof in May 2016.
The panel of judges consisted of a seasoned team of tasters under the leadership of Dr Andy Roediger assisted by Cathy van Zyl, South Africa’s first British Wine Master, Charles Hopkins, cellar master of De Grendel, Cape Wine Master Dave March, Francois Naudé, wine manager of Rhebokskloof, Pearl Oliver, wine manager of the Taj Hotel and Mark Norrish of Ultra Liquors. An eighth judge, Kiara Scott (one of the Cape Winemakers Guild protégés), was included in the panel for the purpose of gaining exposure and experience.
The Dream Dozen:
- Alto Shiraz 2013
- Babylonstoren Shiraz 2014
- Cederberg Shiraz 2014
- De Morgenzon Reserve Syrah 2014
- Eagles’ Nest Shiraz 2013
- Fairview Eenzaamheid Shiraz 2013
- KWV The Mentors Shiraz 2013
- KWV Laborie Limited Collection Shiraz 2014
- Rickety Bridge Shiraz 2013
- Saronsberg Shiraz 2014
- Strandveld Syrah 2012
- Windmeul Shiraz Reserve 2013
Words: Greg Landman
As the wine writer for Country Life magazine for the last 15 years, Greg has met and interviewed more than 150 of the country’s top wine makers. His articles offer unique insights into where to eat, what to drink, and where to go all over the Western Cape. With his dining companion Beryl Ormsby Browne, he has also reviewed more than 60 country restaurants for the magazine and has been a reviewer for the prestigious Eat Out Guide for 12 years. His passion for everything the winelands has to offer has led him into the world of wine tours. To find out more, visit his website Magic Grape Tours.