2008 Porcupine Ridge (Boekenhoutskloof) Syrah Franschhoek

SKU #1048716

Porcupine Ridge is a handcrafted range of wines, celebrated for its uncompromising commitment to quality. The wines carry a distinctive label featuring an original pen and ink of the crested porcupine drawn by leading South Africa wildlife artist, Zakkie Eloff. These crested porcupines inhabit the vineyards of the Boekenhoutskloof homestead. This newly released wine is called Syrah, not Shiraz, for a reason. It shares much in common with the Syrah based wines of the northern Rhone, especially the rustic and dark-fruited crozes hermitage. Wonderful with red meat cooked out of doors! 89 points Wine Enthusiast: "This Syrah has a rustic but elegant nature: aromas of raspberry, black pepper, smoked sausage and cloves prevail, while full-bodied but integrated flavors of anise, pepper and berry follow. The wine is robust but has a velvety character and a spicy finish." (11/09) And, according to Wine Spectator: "Fresh, with an iron note running through the black tea, braised fig and dark cherry fruit notes. There's a nice plush edge to the open-knit finish. Drink now." (12/09)

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Price: $9.99

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By: Chiara Shannon |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 8/14/2009  | Send Email
Where am I? Am I in the Northern Rhône? Or California? Or both? Hard to tell with the nose of this wine, which is a dead-ringer for Syrah from the Rhône - all blackberries, smoked meats and garrigue. The palate is more New World, full of ripe fruit with medium tannins, speaking to California. Yet despite the apparent contrast, this wine shows remarkable balance and the two "worlds" are knit together perfectly. It is a fine example of South African Syrah and a must-try for any Syrah lover - New or Old World.

By: Mulan Chan-Randel |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 8/12/2009  | Send Email
With 2008 Porcupine Ridge had delivered a knockout syrah at a seriously knockout price. Lovers of of all wines from the Northern Rhone, this wine was made for you. But South Africa you say? Believe me, if I could find a Northern Rhone syrah that delivers such quality at this price point I'd be buying pallets of it. Deep cherry, violets, savory notes, slight roasted herb note on the edges..with fine tannins and a snappy finish. Well done Porcupine Ridge!

 By: principalchef |  Review Date: 4/1/2010 
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Well . . . I don't feel quite as strongly as the KL reviewers. It's nice, but really not as big as I would have hoped. After about 30 minutes of being open, it had some bigger moments, but it was never consistent. A little tightly wound for my tastes.

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Shiraz/Syrah

- 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.
Country:

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.