Connect the Dots
Connect the Dots
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W.O. Western Cape
Life is an expedition and though the route’s often unclear, the fun lies in joining the dots between the people, places, ideas and experiences we encounter along the way. As in the vines, sometimes they connect, sometimes they don’t but, when the dots do connect, the results can be breathtaking.
Exploring the diversity of Syrah planted in cool micro-climates of the Cape is my passion and this label represents another step in my never-ending search to find the best sites in the Winelands. Working closely with farmers who share my passions for Syrah and precision viticulture, the idea is provide a snap-shot of Cape Syrah in a given year and to fuse the results in a bottle. In other words, to Connect The Dots.
This first vintage hails from two vineyards in Elgin (with soils derived from Table Mountain Sandstone and Bokkeveld Shale) and a site on the Helderberg in Stellenbosch (of Granite origin). Elgin is, literally, the coolest viticultural region in South Africa and home to some of my favourite Syrahs. Sadly, both these parcels are now planted to apples, which is a common theme in Elgin that I’m keen to overturn.
The Stellenbosch site sits at an altitude of 245 -275m, where vines on the exposed Helderberg slopes are cooled by maritime winds off of False Bay. I picked the grapes at 262m because 262 was my Dad’s old boarding school laundry number and has become our family’s favourite. From seat tickets and hotel rooms, to restaurant bills, it pops up all over the place and I figured it would be fun to add a vineyard to the list … and that, in these tough times, I’d take all the luck it could bring!
This vintage is 100% whole bunch fermented and was gently basket-pressed to older 300L French Oak barrels for 10 months, then matured in bottle for a further 12 months before release. The blend is made up of three almost equal parts, with the Helderberg lending red fruit and floras, underpinned by a grippy graphite, textured tannin, and the soils of the Elgin parcels displaying a more luxurious, plummy profile. There’s a lighter lavender and pepper from the shale, a darker, more savoury note from the sandstone and collectively, they showcase just how well Syrah thrives in South Africa’s cooler Cape climates.