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Kershaw Syrah "Clonal Selection" '16

Elgin

Kershaw Syrah "Clonal Selection" '16

I had the immense pleasure of traveling to South Africa a few years ago to visit some of the top emerging estates in the country.

One of the highlights of my trip was visiting with Richard Kershaw at his estate in the Elgin region of the Western Cape. What was once an apple and pear producing region, has become known in the South African wine scene as being a place to grow cool climate grapes such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and even Syrah.

While Syrah can be a varietal suited to both warm and cool climates, when we talk about the iconic expressions of the varietal, we often reference regions such as Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie in the Northern Rhône. 

Drawing from those reference points, Richard Kershaw produces 5 different Syrah. While this may seem like a lot of different Syrah for a small domaine, it points to Richard’s intellectual curiosity, and amazingly brilliant wine mind. It should be noted that Richard Kershaw is a Master of Wine, and his breadth of knowledge of the wine world is applied to everything he does at the winery.

In his “Clonal Selection” range of wines, Richard blends three different clones of Syrah, each adding their own nuances to the blend. Beyond the clones, the vines are also planted at different vineyard sites, with different soil profiles. Sandstone, shale, and decomposed sandstone with pebbles and quartz, all play a role at the different vineyard sites.

Winemaking is very straightforward. Hand picked grapes are then manually sorted, destemmed, placed in an open-top fermented where over a three day maceration the spontaneous fermentation begins. A gentle punching down of the cap takes place over three weeks, before being racked by gravity into barrels. Richard uses a mixture of French oak coopers, mainly 500 liter, with 50% new and the rest second and third year barrels.

The 2016 vintage has been universally well received by consumers and the press alike. Here is a recent glowing review from Neal Martin of Vinous.

“The 2016 Clonal Selection Elgin Syrah is a blend of around eight parcels, all individually micro-vinified and matured with varying levels of new oak, from zero up to 70%. Limpid in the glass, it has a glorious, pure bouquet of red currant, raspberry and mulberry scents that are seductive and very Burgundian – think Vosne-Romanée! The palate is rounded on the entry, offering lively red berry fruit laced with white pepper, fennel and a subtle charcoal note. There is a slight grittiness toward the finish, which is well structured and persistent. This is both a delicious and an intellectual Syrah. 94 Points, Neal Martin.”

Decant a bottle for an hour prior to drinking and pair with a paprika-roasted leg of lamb.

Perman

South Africa

Details

Producer Kershaw
Vintage 2016
Format 750ml
Grape Variety Syrah

Acidity

3 / 5

Tannin

2 / 5

Body

3 / 5

Sweetness

1 / 5

Fruity

2 / 5

Funky

2 / 5

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312.255.8990
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Sounds good!