Kershaw GPS Syrah 2018
The grapes were hand-picked, manually sorted and destemmed before being transferred uncrushed into open-topped fermenters. The grapes underwent three-day maceration before spontaneous fermentation began with wild yeasts. Gentle pigeage took place and skin contact lasted for 19 days. The wine was then racked to barrel by gravity and the remaining pomace was basket-pressed. Malolactic conversion took place in barrel, followed by 16-months’ maturation, of which 38.4% was in new oak; and 76.0% was aged in 500-litre barrels and 24% in ‘breathable’ concrete eggs. The wine was racked and bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Heady aromas of black pepper, cinnamon stick and black cherry lead to a succulent and voluminous palate. Lush Morello cherry flavours are layered with liquorice, baked plums and bay leaf, underpinned by fine grippy tannins.
The G.P.S. (Grape Positioning System) series is made from exciting small parcels of fruit selected from carefully chosen vineyards outside the Elgin Valley. The grapes for this wine come from the Klein River ward, which is one of the smallest wine wards in South Africa. Almost 20 years ago, the first Syrah vines were planted in an area which has traditionally been used for sheep and wheat farming. Three hectares were set aside for Syrah, on shale-derived Glenrosa soil. These soils are normally the hallmark of warmer areas, but these vines nestle against the Klein River Mountain range, which combined with the nearby Akkedis Valley, provide a portal through which the cool sea breezes from the Walker Bay penetrate, creating a mild meso-climate in summer. The SH1 clone vines are trellised with an open canopy to maximise sunlight and aid air circulation. Wines from these vines are highly acclaimed and consistently win multiple awards.
Below-average winter rainfall resulted in drier soils and as a result the crop sizes were smaller, as less ground water was available for the tap roots. Wet, cool and windy weather during flowering meant less fruit was pollinated. However, the smaller berries delivered high aromatic intensity and good colour for the reds. During the vegetative period the days were warm, but without damaging heatwaves and the growing season was cool, resulting in fruit with excellent balance.
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