This benchmark Syrah from Reenen Borman is one of the most important releases of the year. The Boschkloof Epilogue is now firmly established as the finest expression of Syrah in Stellenbosch. With an average…

This benchmark Syrah from Reenen Borman is one of the most important releases of the year. The Boschkloof Epilogue is now firmly established as the finest expression of Syrah in Stellenbosch. With an average of 98 points from Tim Atkin MW and 95 points from Christian Eedes over the last 5 vintages, the Epilogue has already reached the pinnacle of South African fine wine.

This rare, single-vineyard offering from star winemaker, Reenen Borman, has rightly been called a ‘ground-breaking, paradigm-shifting Syrah’ by Greg Sherwood MW and the 2019 Epilogue is stunning. It follows on from the previous releases with inviting florals, coriander spice and a core of olive tapenade. Expressive fruit purity leads to a distinctly fresh palate, laced with those trademark granitic tannins – a perfect Syrah! As Tim Atkin says, what more do you want from a Syrah?’

The Epilogue vineyard was planted by Jacques Borman in 1996, after his trailblazing success with Syrah at La Motte in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Early vintages, especially the CWG version, were impressive but Reenen has brought this vineyard (planted with the rare SH99 clone) to another level. The 2019 was 50% whole-bunch fermented, with 25% raised in new 400L oak barrels and the remaining 75% in concrete egg. The 2019 release confirms that the Epilogue is one of our country’s finest wines.

Please note, this wine is very limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Tasting notes:

Boschkloof, Epilogue Syrah 2019
A beguiling and fragrant nose of violets, dried rose and a dusting of herbs. It is incredibly fresh, with a core of black olive over milled coriander and an attractive fynbos lift – all supported by a dark, brooding core of mulberry fruit and freshly crushed pepper. Vibrant and nervous on the palate, it has a citric line of acidity that forms a visceral backbone, contributing to a long, defined finish. The palate is balanced by powdery tannins that add subtle power to the savoury, medium-bodied palate. As complex as pervious vintages, with better-integrated oak. Classic and elegant. Still evidently young, it will need a year to settle, although already so delicious. Drink from 2022 onwards. – James Pietersen (March 2021)

Ratings for the 2018 vintage
The only thing wrong with this wine is that, at 2,000 bottles, there is very little of it. Expressing just how good this site is in “less perfect vintages”, it’s a Stellenbosch-meets-Hermitage style from Reenen Borman with effortless concentration and focus, aromas of lavender, thyme and black olive, subtle 20% new wood and dense, succulent black fruit. Drink 2023-30. – Tim Atkin MW, 98/100

Understatedly expressive single-vineyard Syrah. Dried herb-floral perfume on already complex 2018. Velvet texture, fresh &, like 2017 (4.5 stars, 94 pts), unassertive but informing tannins in balance with fine fruit. Partly destemmed; 25% new oak, 30% concrete-matured. 13.5% alcohol. – Platter’s Guide, 5* (96/100)

The nose is deep and complex with top notes of incense and dried herbs before dark berries, olive tapenade, vanilla, earth and black pepper while the palate is full but balanced – there’s plenty of fruit power in evidence but the wine is not short of freshness; the tannins meanwhile are fine and mouth-coating, the finish impressively long and savoury. At once, gentle and forceful. – Christian Eedes, Winemag.co. za, 95/100

One immediately notices a more transparent hue on the medium-bodied 2018 Epilogue. Checking in at 13.5% alcohol and without any noticeable oak, it is certainly leaner and more open than the richer 2017. But it’s this vivid clarity and purity that is simply exhilarating and mesmerising, reminding me of the fragrant and profound wines of Côte-Rôtie or Chambolle-Musigny! The nose is breath-taking, with violets, white pepper, olive brine, lamb-drippings, bramble berries and eau de parfum! The haunting palate is vibrant and pure, with satin-like tannins encasing delicate sweet fruit, ending in a kick of concentration on the finish. Wow, best Epilogue yet! Great wines are often immediately delicious from release and this has such perfect balance and seductive fruit now, it’s hard not to drink. It will give any Syrah, no wine, around the world a serious run for its money. Drink now to 2028+. – Roland Peens, 97/100 (May 2020)

 

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