Cape Agulhas, Elim
95% Shiraz; 5% Grenache
Four Stars Platters Guide SA, Decanter Silver Medal 2023
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Certified Sustainably Produced, Vegan
This aptly named Strandveld First Sighting Shiraz comes from the Southern most winery in South Africa. The vineyards are just 9 kilometres from the sea, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Indian Ocean off Cape Agulhas.
Your attention is immediately drawn by fresh blackberry and blackcurrant aromas tinged with spicy black pepper and fynbos notes. Strandveld First Sighting Shiraz has juicy black fruit flavours with savoury tannins, subtle toasted oak and a long spicy finish. This is a classy, smooth and structured shiraz from cool climate Elim.
This fresh Shiraz blend leans towards a Rhone Syrah style. The Shiraz grapes come from 19 year-old vines and it has been matured for 12 months in French oak barrels; mainly second and third fill.
At almost 35 degrees below the equator, the maritime climate has below average temperatures for the Cape. Here, the winds can be so strong that vineyard workers find it hard to stand up! “Strandveld” refers to the coastal belt of land which spans the coastline around Africa’s tempestuous southernmost tip at Cape Agulhas. It is characterised by severe wind, mist and cool temperatures. This confluence of maritime climate, varying site and soil types create the diversity of terroir that distinguishes the wines of Strandveld Vineyards.
Conrad Vlok, winemaker at Strandveld since 2004, focuses on producing excellent quality grapes in this cool climate. Yields are low, the grapes ripen slowly and the berries are small; as a result the wines have intense flavours. The 69 hectares estate and winery was established in 2001, and already the winery has achieved many awards. This wine consistently wins awards; the 2016 vintage won a Platinum Medal at the Michelangelo International Awards and several vintages, including 2019 have won a Silver Medal at Decanter World Wine Awards. The 2020 vintage received an excellent review in Decanter Magazine in 2023:
“Lovely bright aromas of cherry blossom, dark berries and damson. Silky and elegant mouthwatering palate” 90 Points. Decanter Magazine
The growing season started with a very dry spring and less wind than normal. Conditions were good until we were hit with a full force, late cold front at the end of October 2019. This brought a hail storm with stones the size of Shiraz berries driven by a gale force South West wind which ripped the leaves and shoots of their vines. Within 10 minutes the damage was done.
January brought strong South Easterly winds, warmer than usual temperatures and some rain. By 4 February 2020, the harvest was in full swing and Conrad was relieved that the berries had no sour rot. Despite the challenging conditions, the resulting low yield harvested in February and March produced amazing fresh and elegant wines. We think this has been captured in this fresh Shiraz blend which leans towards a Rhone style. The Shiraz grapes come from 19 year-old vines and it has been matured for 12 months in French oak barrels; mainly second and third fill.
Food match: Pork roasts and grills; Roasted vegetables; mediterranean style foods
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