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Keermont, Steepside Syrah 2016
This is an intense wine with a bright strawberry red colour. Spicy, floral aromas are complimented by hints of cinnamon, ripe strawberries and black current. The palate is full and broad with ripe spicy fruit. The tight structure gives the wine a succulent dry finish with lingering flavours of vibrant and savoury red fruit. Drink 2018-2028.
Planted in 2005 on the steep midslopes of the Helderberg Mountain range, Steepside Syrah sits at an elevation of 300m. Vines grow in rich red clay loam soils with high levels of iron and quartzite originating from the peaks above. The combination of these deep granitic soils and the intensity of the sunshine on the North facing ridge allows the vineyard to produce wines with power and structure, while the spicy herbal aromatics can be attributed to the elevation and the pristine fynbos flora that surround it. All grapes used in producing our wines are grown on Keermont Vineyards. Small parcels of grapes are specifically selected according to ripeness, harvested by hand and vinified separately. This process is carried out gently and naturally in open top fermenters using traditional methods only. This wine spent 20 months maturing in seasoned 225 and 500 Litre French oak barrels before being bottled by hand without filtration. Only 2571 bottles were produced.
Keermont is another relative newcomer on the South African fine wine scene, particularly in the context of Stellenbosch, one of the Cape's traditional heartlands. Located in the stunning Blaauwklippen Valley, Keermont is a spectacular single estate nestled in the foothills of mountains comprising 21 hectares under vine. In 2003 the Wraith family bought the farm and moved in but it was not until 2005 that a major process of planting and renovation took place so as to augment the 8 hectares of original vineyards that were planted across the 1970s, 80s and 90s. This area has rich vegetation and slightly higher than average rainfall which brings lush vegetation and wildlife to the scene. Over the next seven years the estate steadily grew, under the guidance of Alex Starey, a talented winemaker with a restrained and detail-orientated philosophy. Winemaking is as natural as possible. All of the wines are basket pressed and moved by gravity and purely by hand ; there are no pumps or machinery to speak of. Fermentation is carried out in concrete and stainless steel and for the reds maturation takes place over two years in neutral barrique (separately for the first year and blended for the second year) while whites see 1 year in barrel. Unusually for many younger producers in South Africa, Keermont are privileged to be able to work with 100% estate-owned fruit and they continue to sell off about half of the production so as to keep their focus on quality over quantity. 2007 was the first vintage bottled under their own name and they are clearly an estate to watch.
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