Category Archives: Syrah/Shiraz

Gabriëlskloof Shiraz 2013

The Headlines: //

Cleaner than a Spice Girls radio edit, with posh spice elements of pepper and cloves on the vanguard. Ripe black fruit and some oaky vanilla also present.
On the palate, ripe blackberries arrive first, with slow attack sweet sugar plums arriving a little later.
There is a fair amount of black fruit sweetness (for a dry red), but the acidity is every bit its match. The end result is beautifully balanced.
Mouthfeel is marvelously soft, as is the finish.
Vanilla lingers into the tail.

Quality: 17/20 //
Price: R95.00  (as of December 2016)//
Value: 4/5 //
Ponce factor: Low//
Occasion: Mid-week, post suicide hour, once the kids are in bed //
Key words: value, botrivier, UnderR100//
Vivino rating //

To fill those awkward silences…

The Cool Kids from Bot River

Bot River is a little like The Smashing Pumpkins; terrible name, superb products.
The region is home to rockstar wineries like Luddite, Beaumont Family Wines, and Wildekrans, but also hosts lesser known rising stars that offer superb value. Gabriëlskloof is one such rising star in the area, which is why the winery provides such insane value – especially on its shiraz (It’s Five Arches blend is also superb, but at R190, the value train derails somewhat.

Before they were cool

Being able to buy a bottle of Gabrielskloof Shiraz for #underR100 is like scoring Guns n Roses tickets in 1987. The quality is already out in the public domain, but mainstream hair-metallers are yet to catch on. Just be sure you snatch up some bottles before Gabriëlskloof have their Sweet Child o’ Mine moment, and blow up on Wine Spectator. You won’t be paying double digits after that.

A rose by any other name…

In case you cared, when G’nR had just formed, and were yet to decide on a band name, two little gems that were at the top of the list of possibles were “AIDS” and “Heads of Amazon”. Thankfully history took a different course.

KWV The Mentors Shiraz 2013

TLDR: Very nice, but at a price. //
Quality: 16/20 //
Price: R270 – R300 (as of September 2016) //
Value: 2/5 //
Ponce factor: High //
Occasion: Wine Ponce Festival //
Keywords: Terroir, Swartland, Fruit Selection //
Vivino rating //

Tasting notes:

Dense black fruit, white pepper, cloves & oak on the caboose. Superbly balanced. Despite its youth & formidable weight, tannins are ludicrously soft. If there is any criticism to make of this beauty, it’d be that it feels a little safe; acidity is tempered & any sharp edges have been removed. But, then again, as stated earlier, this is a definitive work, not a rule breaker. So safe as it is, I could drink this all year long.

To fill those awkward silences…

KWV Mentors winemaker Johan Fourie is writing textbooks; one bottle at a time. His chapter on Shiraz just happens to be a tour de force, with all the grace and elegance of a Tolkeinesque elven princess on ice skates. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of intrigue in the back story, so if you want to get maximum social impact when cracking this, best wait for a crowd that actually knows how incredible KWV’s Mentors range really is.

If you’re going to soldier on with this wine, and insist on dropping your pearls before your social circle of swine, be prepared to explain concepts like “terroir” and “fruit selection”. What makes KWV Mentors so exceptional as a range is that it fully employs the vast resources available to KWV to ensure that the fruit that goes into the wine is quite simply as good as it can be. Or at least as good as the winemaker wants it to be. There is the misconception amongst alchemists that “big is bad”, but quite honestly “big” is (more often than not) simply better funded, and so, if budget allows, and the winemaker knows what he is doing, the end result is going to be a winner. Needless to say, Johan Fourie knows his way around a grape.

With regards to terroir, this wine does boast the street cred of being 39% Swartland shiraz, so you can casually drop terms like “Swartland Revolution”, “bushvine”, or “low yield”, accompanied by the odd raised left eye brow. Wait to see if that gets any brownie points. If not, well, you’ve learnt your lesson – you should have kept this bad boy for a late night Wine Lovers’ Summit.