The wine with two names

Ever met a person with two names? Not counting nicknames, I certainly haven’t.

I would completely understand if you have been baffled by the fact that Shiraz and Syrah are the exact same red wine varietal. The difference has historical roots but in essence, the style of the wine and winemaking dictate whether you use Shiraz or Syrah on the label.

The New World winemaking countries such as South Africa, which fall outside of the traditional winemaking countries of France, Spain, and Italy (to name but a few), have generally produced a style that is higher in alcohol, with more tannins and typical flavours of ripe plums and black fruits, and have adopted the use of the word Shiraz.

Syrah, from the Old World, is generally lower in alcohol with lighter tannins and distinctive notes of white pepper and blue fruits, with a slight herbaceous edge. Over the years the Old World has become less territorial about the use of the word Syrah, and today you can find the name and style all over the world. Although winemakers argue that stylistically speaking Shiraz and Syrah are not the same, there are no laws governing this distinction, so I think it’s best we steer clear of sweeping generalisations and confusing technicalities!

The Wellington Wine Valley favours Shiraz where the warm north-western slopes provide us with bold, rich, and full-bodied wines. The grapes are fruit-forward and therefore we prefer to use 500L French Oak barrels for maturation, in order to minimise the impact of oak characters on the wine.

Our flagship, the La Cave Shiraz, received Shiraz SA Top 12 status for the 2016 and 2017 vintages – awards we are incredibly proud of!

Made from a single vineyard, the wine was matured for 18 months to deliver a full-bodied wine with silky tannins and flavours of ripe berry fruit, cloves, and oak spice.
The grapes for the Duke Shiraz are harvested from specific vineyards and the wine is matured in a combination of 2nd and 3rd fill French oak and wood alternatives, and also contain an unwooded component. The wine is warm, rich and inviting with ripe red berry fruit, well-structured tannins, and a juicy fruit core.

So how to enjoy our Shiraz? Naturally, this grape varietal favours anything on the braai. The Duke Shiraz is a great companion for beef or tuna steaks, grilled vegetables, chicken kebabs, and vegetarian or lamb burgers. The La Cave Shiraz can handle more robust dishes such as braised oxtail, moussaka, pork belly, or roasted leg of lamb.

We’re dedicating the entire month of July to Shiraz! Join us for a tasting if you can. If not, order from our online shop now and enjoy later!

Daniel Slabber – Winemaker

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