Steepside Syrah, 2015

  Keermont Vineyards

Steepside Syrah

A fuller expression of Syrah here, coming from a more exposed site at 300m on the northern side of the Heldeberg Mountains that gets more sun throughout the day. Here the soils have a higher proportion of iron and red clay loam, lending a more sensual, sweet strawberry, black raspberry profile with wild fynbos and fresh herbs surrounding the darker more powerful fruit. Spicy and very stylish. Together they comprise two very accomplished Syrahs from an excellent vintage. Aged for 20 months in a combination of 225 and 500L barrels.

Contains Sulphites.

About Keermont Vineyards

Keermont is another relative newcomer on the South African fine wine scene, particularly in the context of Stellenbosch, one of the Cape’s traditional heartlands. Located in the stunning Blaauwklippen Valley, Keermont is a spectacular single estate nestled in the foothills of mountains comprising 21 hectares under vine. In 2003 the Wraith family bought the farm and moved in but it was not until 2005 that a major process of planting and renovation took place so as to augment the 8 hectares of original vineyards that were planted across the 1970s, 80s and 90s. This area has rich vegetation and slightly higher than average rainfall which brings lush vegetation and wildlife to the scene. Over the next seven years the estate steadily grew, under the guidance of Alex Starey, a talented winemaker with a restrained and detail-orientated philosophy. Winemaking is as natural as possible. All of the wines are basket pressed and moved by gravity and purely by hand – there are no pumps or machinery to speak of. Fermentation is carried out in concrete and stainless steel and for the reds maturation takes place over two years in neutral barrique (separately for the first year and blended for the second year) while whites see 1 year in barrel. Unusually for many younger producers in South Africa, Keermont are privileged to be able to work with 100% estate-owned fruit and they continue to sell off about half of the production so as to keep their focus on quality over quantity. 2007 was the first vintage bottled under their own name and they are clearly an estate to watch.

Appellation: Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch is the second oldest wine region in South Africa (after Constantia), established in 1679. Made up of five wards whose characteristics vary greatly, the dominant feature of the zone is the influence of the atlantic breeze sweeping in and keeping a check on the African heat. Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot and Pinotage are the regions best known varieties, but Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are also seeing some measure of success. Vineyards at a little altitude, aided by the atlantic breeze, are producing wines that marry New World charm with old world elegance.

Grape Type: Syrah/Shiraz

The great red grape of the northern Rhône where it reaches its optimum levels in the violet-scented muscular wines of Hermitage and the graceful sappy Côte Rôties, which in the latter case is sometimes blended with Viognier. The wines of Cornas are renowned as producing Syrah-based wines very close in quality to Hermitage, while St Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage also represent some good value examples. It is also a component of many southern Rhône reds, namely Gigondas and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. As Shiraz, it is Australia's most important red variety, found in various guises from ripe fruit-forward commercial wines to intense concentrated old vine cuvees such as Grange and those of Clarendon Hills. In the best instances Syrah/Shiraz produces deep, spicy, age-worthy wines.