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WINE OF THE WEEK: Joostenberg Estate Klippe Kou Syrah 2020, Paarl, South Africa

£19.05, Corney & Barrow

The way Klippe Kou Syrah is aged was changed in the 2020 vintage, with the total time cut from 18 to 10 months and the introduction of concrete tanks. All the wine started maturation in seasoned 500l barrels but after five months half was removed to concrete tanks (so, 75% in seasoned oak barrels and 25% in concrete in all).

As I didn’t taste the previous vintage, I don’t know how different the result is, but the Myburgh family who own and run this organic estate say that the aim was to preserve the aromatics and fruit expression. They’ve certainly done that. The wine is a beauty.

Fermented naturally in small open-top fermenters with 30% whole bunches, it’s a Syrah of great eloquence and purity – raspberry fruit, briny, wet-rocks minerality, chalk-dust tannins, silkiness and breezy freshness.

The 20-year-old dry-farmed vines grow in the rockiest of Joostenberg’s rocky, decomposed granite and shale soils. Klippe Kou in Afrikaans means ‘chewing rocks’ or, more figuratively, ‘enduring hardship’. Either way, you get the picture.

The estate is a biodiverse mixed farm with 30ha of vineyards lying just 30km from the ocean in Muldersvlei, southwestern Paarl. Now in the hands of the fifth generation of Myburghs, it's one of only a few estates in South Africa to be fully certified organic, and has been since 2012.

The wine is perfect with venison (I had it with striploin briefly seared and roast with thyme, bay leaves and port then deglazed with a little crème fraîche and membrillo). It would also be good with lamb, steak (including beef straccetti with rocket and Parmesan or tagliata), bresaola, smoked duck breast and with roast vegetables. 13.5%. Empty bottle weight: 580g

Joostenberg Estate Klippe Kou Syrah 2020, Paarl, South Africa


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