2009 Boekenhoutskloof Syrah Franschhoek South Africa (Elsewhere $54)

SKU #1122358 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Like the Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2009 Syrah is raised in French oak for 27 months, but second rather than first fill. It has a very precise bouquet that demands coaxing. It eventually reveals blackberry, raspberry coulis, Provencal herbs and a scent of ink. The palate is medium-bodied with beautifully integrated oak. This is quite a lascivious Syrah but it is not overbearing and it offers a sensual honeyed texture that is irresistible. This is an outstanding Syrah. Drink now-2020+  (12/2012)

93 points Wine Spectator

 Rock-solid, with a nice winey core of steeped black currant, sweet tapenade and singed tobacco leaf backed by a mouthwatering iron edge on the finish. Really fleshes out with air, letting the dark fruit and tobacco notes blossom together. Best from 2013 through 2020. 200 cases imported.  (8/2012)

Jancis Robinson

 Dark crimson. Racy, lovely sweet and taffeta-like. Côte Rôtie flavours with muscle and polish. Very well done! 17.5/20 points.  (10/2011)

K&L Notes

From the winery: "This Syrah has unmistakeable white pepper on the nose, with arguably the most intense floral and mineral notes in the history of this wine. Also hints of cloves and worked leather. The concentrated spicy fruit, especially the black berries and cherries on the nose carries through onto the palate with remarkable freshness, complexity and purity. Textured, composed and seamless in style."

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Price: $39.99
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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.