Once you have glimpsed the rocky soils on the lowest slopes of the Newton Johnson domaine it becomes apparent that they are undeniably suited to Rhône/Mediterranean grape varieties. Alluvial deposits of large stone fragments up to two metres deep require vigourous growing vines to search for nutrients and water. Unlike Pinot noir that is sapped of its plump fruit and vitality, robust vines like Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre, thrive in this type of soil. When we pioneered the Syrah grape in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley little was known of the potential styles of Syrah-based blends from the cooler South African wine areas, and we were astounded by the quality of these vineyards. We discovered a mineral style of wine with compact black fruit, spice, perfume, and sophisticated tannins.
A sturdy, evolving vintage. Layers of mature black fruits, cured meats, and sleek graphite edge mark the nose, with high notes of warm spices. Complex, grainy tannin and concentrated flavour, with some succulent, stemmy grip. Acidity from the cooler vintage gives real focus in the finish.
Matured for 12 months in 500L barrels produced in Burgundy and custom made for the various vineyards. Tighter grained oak is preferred for subtle flavour, with longer seasoning and slower, lower temperature toasting. New oak comprises 27%. The wine is racked to stainless steel tanks for another 6 months of élevage. No fining and filtration before bottling.