In a recent Decanter tasting of SA Shiraz, Tim Atkin MW notes how ‘Syrah is the most exciting variety in South Africa at the moment’. The panel was ‘blown away’ by their quality and the results were astonishing: 7 wines were awarded over 95+ points and a further 16 received more than 90 points.
The Swartland was once again identified as the leading Shiraz-growing region. ‘They had fragrance, intensity, freshness,’ commented Greg Sherwood MW, adding that ‘the wines captured the essence of terroir at a relatively low alcohol’. The humdinger of the tasting was the Leeuwenkuil Shiraz 2013. With a cracking 92 points and retailing at just R45, it could easily be 3 times the price! Owned by the Dreyer Family, Leeuwenkuil is one of the leading growers in the Swartland and leverages some 1000ha of prime vineyards.
While their range offers some of the finest value wines in the world, a single-vineyard Heritage Syrah has just been added. Made from the ‘Middelpos’ vineyard on the southern slopes of Riebeek Mountain, it is surrounded by the newly acquired Mullineux & Leeu, Rupert and Boekenhoutskloof farms.
It was made under the guidance of Rudiger Gretschel of Reyneke and it topped my 2014 list as the most exciting wine I tasted all year. Read more here. For lovers of pure-fruited, long-ageing, Rhône-like Syrah, this wine will dazzle you and could also easily be 3 times the price…
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Leeuwenkuil Shiraz 2013
Delicate violet nose gives way to a polished wine offering bright red fruit, fine peppered tannins and crunchy acidity. Has a wonderful Syrah typicity that’s complex and alluring. Very Swartland. Drink 2014-2024. – Decanter, 92 points
Leeuwenkuil Heritage Syrah 2012
Heritage Syrah is made from the 1.5ha ‘Middelpos’ vineyard that is actually owned by the South African government, a long story in itself. Cool nights, unadulterated schist soils and the southern exposure is quite unique in the Swartland, giving an old-world-like tension and intensity. The wine was made under the guidance of Rudiger Gretschel of Reyneke who farmed this vineyard preceding the vintage. The grapes were apparently perfect; tiny, healthy berries came from natural farming and a balanced low-yielding vineyard.
Over 2 days it starts to open up to savoury dark olive, perfume and kirsch, melting into a salty, savoury, Cornas-like finish. It is fresh, rich and tannic with exquisite balance, giving me the impression that it will age well for 2 decades. This is a game-changing single-vineyard wine.
– Roland Peens, Director of Wine Cellar