Saturday, September 27, 2008

CHEVIOT SYRAH 2004 - 85+ Points

Cheviot Syrah 2004 – 2006

The Cheviot Winery was started by Elmari Swart (MSc Oenology) and Jaap Scholten, over a bottle of sparkling Australian Shiraz, while living in an apartment on Cheviot Place, Green Point, South Africa.

Their search for a good Cape Rhone-style Syrah tempted then into starting their own garagiste winery.

2004 was their maiden vintage, with only 1 ton of grapes pressed.

In one word a stunning Syrah, if you can get your hand on it do not think twice…… there were only 612 bottles made….

From 2005 the annual harvest had since increased to two tons, producing roughly 1200 bottles per vintage.

Elmari and Jaap winemaking philosophy is based on Quality, Purity and Authenticity.

The quality is ensured by personal attention to detail, from the vineyard right through to the final bottled and packaged product.

In true Garagiste term everything is done by hand - tasting the grapes for the final harvest decision; open-tub fermentation; manual basket press - tasting of the juice, no use of hydraulics and pressure gauges; bottling by hand, even corking, labelling, and packing by hand.

Due to the small volume of grapes, terroir indeed plays a major part in the final wine.

Wine-making aspects is kept as constant as possible, thereby only letting the harvest and weather of a specific vintage to play a role in the outcome of the wine.

The oak regime are very subtle with 25% new French oak, 25% second fill French, 25% second fill American, and 25% first or second fill Hungarian oak for maturation.

2004 Cheviot Syrah 85+ Points

"Complex, gamey, earthy, minty, hints of dry rosemary, elegant and delicate, lovely fruit / acid / oak / alc integration, juicy, spicy peppery finish. Now until 2013"

The Cheviot Syrah 2004 beautifully expresses the small but concentrated crop of grapes harvested from the warm growing conditions of that vintage.Sourced from the prestigious Simonsberg area of Stellenbosch.

The vineyards are planted on medium vigour, well drained, granitic soils and managed to retain a healthy balance between grape production and growth and the crop was reduced by green-harvesting.

The fruit was harvested on the basis of analysis, taste and vine physiology. .

All damaged or unripe grapes were removed at harvest thereafter hand sorted - individual berries were selected and crushed into 500L open top fermenters. Approximately 10% of the berries remained whole. Selected yeast cultures were added and fermentation was successfully completed at 25-27°C.

The cap was punched down (pigeage) three times daily to ensure gentle extraction. Once fermentation was completed, the wine was pressed using a traditional wooden basket press and run directly to barrels (225L).
Malolactic fermentation was completed in the oak to ensure integration of the wood and fruit flavours. One Bordeaux style barrel and one American oak barrel (both second fill) were used for maturation. The wine received a racking once malolactic fermentation was successfully completed and another 3 months later.After maturation of 14 months, the wine was bottled without any fining or filtration and the minimum amount of sulphur was used to prevent oxidation.
The Cheviot Syrah 2004 85+ Points
is deep, dark purple-ruby in colour, typical of a young wine. The nose presents pronounced red berry fruit with a bouquet of fynbos perfume, complex, gamey, earthy, minty, hints of dry rosemary, elegant and delicate, lovely fruit / acid / oak / alc integration, juicy, spicy peppery finish.The palate has layers of generous ripe fruit and structured tannins, flowing into in a delicious, velvety aftertaste. Now until 2013
Chemical analysisMaiden Vintage 2004 total production: 612 bottles Alcohol 13.35 % v/v pH 3.7 g/l Total Acidity 5.7 g/l The Cheviot Syrah 2004 was released on August the 1st 2006.
2005 Cheviot Syrah 83+ Points
2005 grapes was selected from only 4 rows grown on the slopes of the Helderberg mountains, so no Simonsberg grapes this time "Sweet vanillin from the American Oak and red berry compote, delicate, refined, complex, elegant almost a claret style of Syrah, subtle earthy character. Now until 2013"
2006 Cheviot Syrah 80+ Points
"Complex red berries / spicy melange, hints of paprika dustiness, complex mouth feel, "Ribena", cassis syrup like richness, with lovely freshness, ripe needs time for acid to integrate. Now until 2013".
Tasted & rated by Miguel Chan