2005 Robertson Winery "Number One Constitution Road" Shiraz Robertson South Africa (Elsewhere $30)

SKU #1059604

"Wow, what a tremendous deal from South Africa. This wine was made from selected hand harvested grapes from vines cropping at less than 2 1/2 tons per acre. Fermentation occured in open top tanks with a manual punch down every 3 hours for 8 days. After malolactic fermentation was completed in barrel, the wine spent 30 months in 225 litre new French and American oak with a total production of 50 barrels. The bouquet offers notes of violets, blueberry, blackberry, grilled meat, vanilla, earth, minerals and a hint of black pepper. On the palate, the wine is rich with good acidity framed by supple fine tannins that lead to a long finish. This is a whole lot of wine for the money, don't miss it. Limited supply." Jim Chanteloup South African Wine Buyer.

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Price: $14.99
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Staff Image By: John Majeski | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/31/2010 | Send Email
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The Robertson Valley from which this winery takes its name is fortuitously situated between the Breede River to the south and the Langeberg Mountains to the north, about 100 miles from Capetown. Gifted with abundant sunlight, cooling nocturnal breezes and diverse, complex, well-drained soils with the highest pH levels in South Africa, the winery's superb location offers tremendous potential for fine wine cultivation. Founded in 1941 as a cooperative alliance of kindred grape growers in the valley, the Robertson Winery has for four generations produced prestigious labels. The One Constitution Road Shiraz is its flagship wine, made from select, hand-picked, small-berry fruit and aged for 30 months in 225 liter French and American new oak. Such an extended oak regimen could prove too much for many red wines, but the quality of the fruit and careful fermentation methods ensure balance and depth, with ripe black cherry, cocoa and crushed pepper on the well-rounded, lengthy palate.
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- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.

South Africa

- Now that it has adopted a multi-racial attitude, and now that the world has embraced its government and its exports, South Africa has become a major wine producer. Unfortunately, South Africa has had a difficult time joining the ranks of competitive winemaking countries. During the anti-apartheid sanctions in the 1980s, South African wine was dealt the huge blow when it was removed from the international market, and for political reasons it was quite difficult for wine producers to market wine to the black majority. Things are finally looking up for the wine industry here, and quality has never been higher. South Africa produces a grape cloned from Pinot Noir and Cinsault, called Pinotage, which is the country's unique varietal. Chenin Blanc (known as Steen) makes up one-third of its vines. Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Shiraz are becoming increasingly popular as are Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Click for a list of bestselling items from South Africa.