Kershaw Syrah Elgin Clonal Selection 2018
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|Phenomenal wine from hand-picked grapes|
|Elegant and intense|
|Delicious with refined poultry, game or beef|
Syrah South Africa
Beautiful red wine with a bright red hue and a beautiful aroma of ripe fruit and mild spices. The taste sets in smoothly and softly and develops a fragrant balanced finish with a slightly ripened nuance.
Richard Kershaw Elgin Clonal
Englishman Richard Kershaw started a boutique winery in Elgin with the prestigious Master of Wine degree in his pocket. Since 2012, he has been producing phenomenal wines from dozens of small plots - each with a perfect match between climate, soil type and grape variety. For optimal vineyard expression, Kershaw only uses area-specific syrah clones. During the harvest, the grapes are hand-picked and rigorously selected. For the transport of grapes and juice, Kershaw works exclusively with gravity in the cellar, so without harmful pumps.
The Clonal Selection Syrah is not a blockbuster, but very precise and pure with fine red fruit, a creamy softness and beautiful toast scents from the aging in oak barrels. Also characteristic is the compact structure that is related to the better North Rhône wines. Magnificent! Production is limited to just 8,000 bottles.
In 2011, owner Richard Kershaw MW established Richard Kershaw Wines (RKW) to create clonally selected, site-specific, cool climate wine paradigms from apposite noble grapes ie ones with the ability to produce world-class examples. SA's coolest wine district, Elgin Valley, reflected these principles benefitting from higher altitude, ocean proximity, specific cloud cover sequencing, high cold units and a large diurnal range, enabling the germane grapes, Chardonnay and Syrah, to show a sense of place.
2012 was a stand out vintage with a combination of cool spring weather giving the shoots plenty of time to break buds and the absence of strong wind resulting in less shoot damage and good flowering. High cold units from cooler winter temperatures also allowed proper vine dormancy. Despite some heat surges in January, Elgin was tempered from the highs experienced elsewhere and, importantly, peak temperatures were only achieved for short periods as the night-time temps were cool and the soils took time to warm up. The extraordinary cool nights experienced in February meant that fruit aromas were preserved and acids retained. Fine weather in March accompanied by very cool mornings allowed the phenolic ripeness to proceed steadily without higher sugars. At first sight, 2012 seems an exciting and potentially excellent vintage for Syrah with low pH, tempered alcohol levels, and fine tannin frames.
The grapes were handpicked under autumnal skies into small lug baskets and then manually sorted on a conveyor before the stems were removed. The destemmed berries fell onto a vibrating table in order to remove jacks and substandard berries before dropping into a small 500kg conical hopper and forklifted into open-topped fermenters. The grapes underwent a 3-day maceration before spontaneous fermentation began. A gentle pigeage program was charted and the grapes remained on skins for 23 days. The wine was then racked to barrel using gravity flow (no pumps were used at all) and the pomace basket pressed. Malolactic then proceeded in barrel followed by a light sulfuring and 15 month maturation. No finings were necessary and the wine was racked, blended and bottled with each bottle bearing a unique reference number.
A small number of artisanal coopers were selected from Burgundy and Rhone, with only French oak chosen. 50% of the oak was new with the remainder split into 2nd and 3rd fill barrels.
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