It’s Really All About The Vineyards
Syrah is the red wine varietal that rules the Northern Rhône Valley. There are a number of legends associated with the origins of Syrah, which all add a touch of romance to the grape and today it ranks as the 6th most planted grape variety in the world. It is extremely versatile, adapts well to a wide range of regions and expresses a true sense of terroir.
The block used for our Circumstance Syrah is planted on the south-facing slopes of the Schapenberg at an altitude of between 240 to 260 metres above sea level, and a mere 4km from The Atlantic Ocean. Strong south-easterly winds help control growth and crop yield. Our Syrah vines flourish in granite soils, just as they do in much of The Northern Rhône. Production was approximately 5 tons/ha.
At Waterkloof we pride ourselves in not spraying any chemical herbicides or pesticides in our vineyards. We produce our own compost and biodynamic preparations, which we then apply by using our Percheron horses, as opposed to heavy tractors. These practices ensure loose soil with more life, where the vines can spread their roots as they please; taking up everything they need from our rich and complex earth. We believe that biodynamic farming leads to terroir-driven wines, which are truly made in the vineyard.
A Gentle Hand
We harvest according to taste and find it essential to spend a lot of time in the vineyards to see how the flavours develop. Grapes were not de-stemmed and we sorted through all the whole bunches to ensure that only the top quality fruit was placed via gravity into our open-top wooden fermenters. The 100% whole bunch, natural fermentation started spontaneously by utilising the wild yeasts present on the fruit. The berries were punched down two to three times per day. Making sure not to break the stems too quickly and to slowly and softly extract the tannins, the wine was left on the skins for a total of 30 days before it was run off via gravity. The skins were then softly pressed, using a basket press and aged in older 600 litre French barrels for 25 months before bottling. The wine received no fining, which allowed the grape to be purely expressed in the wine. Only sulphur was added and no other additions, such as tartaric acid or enzymes were allowed.
And A Few Prayers To Mother Nature- 2012/13 Growing Season
Ideal weather conditions during the harvest season – moderate day temperatures, cool night temperatures and no prolonged rain and heat waves – had a positive impact on wine grape quality and establishing good colour in the reds and lovely acidity in the whites with balanced flavours. The grapes were healthy with a bit of rot occurring later in the season.
A Tasting Note From The Glass Of Nadia Barnard
This wine shows elegant hints of black pepper and other spice on the nose, complemented by earthy notes. Bright fruit is carried by the fresh acidity and well-structured tannins. Elegant with great length. Syrah is one of the most versatile wines to pair with food. We recommend red meat, especially lamb, enhanced with Southern French herbs (eg. rosemary, thyme), sirloin steak or hearty casseroles.
The Numbers (1 908 bottles produced)