The Elgin Valley has been stamping its name on the wine world, with recent strong performances in numerous wine reviews and competitions a testament to the innovation and creativity there. Despite this, the valley also struggles from a lack of marketing and finds it hard to compete with the established fame of Stellenbosch and Franschoek. Additionally, the yields are smaller and as such prices tend to be higher. And yet, despite the challenges the valley’s reputation is growing. Last week we were at the Elgin valley Winter reds tweet up to taste some of the best the valley has to offer and were, in general, extremely impressed. These are four of our favourite wines from the night.
Kershaw Elgin Syrah – 2016
Established in 2012 the Kershaw estate is a relatively small one, producing quality examples of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah, and in the Syrah, they have found a definite winner.
This is a wine poised on the edge of perfection. A savoury, balanced affair, the Kershaw delivers gentle notes of red fruit, with just a hint of black pepper, and black olive. The lightest kiss of oak and gentle tannins blend delightfully with the downplayed fruitiness. Just 9300 bottles of this vintage exist, so grab them while you can. Truly excellent.
Paul Wallace Crackerjack – 2016
Earlier in the evening, we had the opportunity of tasting the Paul Wallace Malbec, which was excellent, so no one was surprised when this red blend, which includes Malbec started turning heads.
A Merlot fronted blend the Crackerjack is unsurprisingly packed with fruit flavours that are cunningly tempered by the inclusion of 11% Malbec, 22%
Cabernet Franc, and 17% Cabernet Sauvignon. This means the Crackerjack is not as heavy as one would expect from the 50% Merlot content, allowing the flavour of blackcurrant to come to the front.
Shannon Mount Bullet Merlot – 2016
Anyone, who, having seen the movie Sideways, wants to immediately write off Merlot needs to try the Shannon Mount Bullet before they do. This is a wine with an intimidatingly impressive resume of awards and it deserves them.
Of course, the plums and dark cherries that one expects of a Merlot are there, but its maturation in three separate Bordeaux cooperages has lent it a deep complexity and a silky mouthfeel, with lovely smooth tannins, that makes this a wine sure to impress even the most strongly anti-Merlot advocate.
Iona One Man Band – 2014
Iona is situated in the middle of nowhere, down a long bumpy dirt road on the southern end of the Elgin Valley. When the farm was founded in the late 1990s it had no agricultural neighbours and from this out of the way location Andrew Gunn and his wife Rozy have been producing a range of wines that have just been getting better as the years go by.
The flagship One man band is a blend between Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Mourvedre and Viognier and this latest vintage delivers in every way. A smooth, velvety wine, the Iona has hints of cedar, and spice on a bed of plumbs and berries. There is also the subtlest mist of vanilla and peaches on the nose, which may be the Viognier’s main contribution to the blend. Rich, and subtly layered this is a wine that will, without a doubt, impress the guests.