Stars In The Dark
Stars In The Dark
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The cold and inhospitable Agulhas coast is no easy spot for vines to grow. There’s little rain, the winds howl and the shallow, layered shales and koffieklip-littered soils of Elim provide little nourishment.
The ripening season is cool and lengthy yet, with their roots driven deep, the tenacious Syrah vines on these mature parcels bear minute, concentrated berries with electric, natural acidity.
With the unmistakable white pepper notes characteristic of Elim, this wine is intensely savoury, yet also floral. Proof that, despite harsh conditions – or even because of them – a beautiful outcome is always possible.
The wine is 100% Syrah and 100% whole bunch, meaning that everything in the vineyard contributes to the end result. (Even the farmer, who makes his own charcuterie, shows up in the wine’s wafts of smoked meat!)
The grapes were sourced from the same parcel as the 2018 vintage (Clone SH1) along with some from another of Elim’s oldest parcels (Clone XXX). As always, they were spontaneously fermented in the cellar and punch-downs were done with a gentle (freshly sanitized!) hand or foot. Then after ten months in 300L and 400L seasoned French Oak barrels, the wine was racked from its lees and bottled unfined.
No harvest is without its challenges and, in 2019, increased disease pressure on the Agulhas Plains resulted in a smaller crop. However, cool temperatures during the growing season were a blessing for balance and the longer hang-time has delivered another elegantly structured wine with beautiful fruit purity and fantastic acidity.
The characteristic white pepper notes were, interestingly, detectable in the “Triple X” berries much earlier on than usual and have carried through to the wine.
This vintage is slower to open up than 2018 but it’s a great wine to put away and forget for a couple of years.