2013 Fable Mountain "Tulbagh Estate" Syrah Western Cape (Elsewhere $50)

SKU #1346271 92 points Vinous

 (vinified with about one-third whole clusters; aged for 24 months in one-third new 500-liter barrels and bottled without fining or filtration): Bright medium ruby. Pungent, pure aromas of cassis, blackberry, licorice, bitter chocolate and herbs. Dense, saline, concentrated and juicy but silky and fine-grained too. Dark berry and violet flavors show terrific energy and definition, with pepper and herb notes providing additional lift. A touch of smoked meat adds another dimension but this wine stands out most for its terrific purity of fruit, inner-mouth perfume and building, subtle length. I'd give it a year or two of additional cellaring to resolve its firm tannins; it should age gracefully.(ST)  (5/2017)

90 points James Suckling

 Black cherries with ripe strawberries on the nose. Balanced with lots of fresh strawberries. A bit of green at the end and quite short. Drink now.  (8/2017)

Jancis Robinson

 Selected fruit and selected barrels. 15% whole bunch. 24 months in barrel, 25% new. Mid cherry red. Sweet, ripe but scented cherry fruit on the nose. Still pretty youthful on the palate, firm tannins are filled out with peppery Syrah fruit but will benefit from a little longer in the bottle. Still pretty chewy. Serious wine that’s not trying to flatter. 17+/20 points (JH)  (10/2017)

K&L Notes

94 points Falstaf: Strong ruby-garnet, violet reflexes, subtle edge brightening. Dark forest berry confit, delicate red berry accents, but also some elderberries, spicy nuances reminiscent of fynbos, a touch of orange zest. Juicy heart cherry fruit, ripe and harmonious, silky tannins, extra-sweet reverberation, already very well developed, a versatile food companion with good aging potential.

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Price: $29.99

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Product Reviews:

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Staff Image By: Brian Fogarty | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/23/2018 | Send Email
This wine's remarkability starts with the terroir footprint they have in the Western Cape region of Talbagh (adjacent to Swartland and 2 hours from Cape Town); thin soils sitting on top of ancient, vertical shale. Of course the talented people who organically farm and craft their wines in the cellar should receive some of the credit too. Their property is literally in the shadow of the Witzenberg Mountains (looking like 3 sleeping giants on the label) so every morning these high elevation vineyards do not see direct sunlight till mid-day keeping them cool and abbreviating their growing season. This unique geographical feature allows them to have a slow ripening in the summer and maintain fresh acidity for an elegant fruit profile. To further amplify what nature has given them the team cultivates the land with biodynamic practices using animals in the vineyard to mow, aerate and fertilize the fields naturally in the winter months. However, every night the cows, sheep and “one ugly pig” have to be herded back into the barn to protect them from the wild things lurking in the adjacent Wilderness Refuge. Partnering so closely with Mother Nature has its risks and its rewards! Rich, bold fruit and a caress of oak on the nose gets serious and structured on the palate. Black cherries, anise, and bramble berries partner with dark chocolate and herbs into a savory finish.

Staff Image By: Christina Stanley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/23/2018 | Send Email
This is a classic Syrah in the vein of Cote Rotie, with powerful black and red fruit, firm, mouthcoating tannins, and penetrating minerality. The fruit is biodynamically farmed, and the Tulbaugh Estate animals roam freely in the vineyards, adding to the unique ecosystem. There is a pleasantly rustic quality to the wine as well, particularly in the aromatic profile, and the palate offers a hefty portion of tart red fruit and fresh acidity, which makes this wine especially food friendly.

Staff Image By: Ivan Diaz | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/22/2018 | Send Email
One of my favorite bottles of South African Syrah, this can contend with anything from southern France at the same price. Exactly what I'm looking for in good Syrah; the raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries are ripe and vivid but not overt; aromatic, freshly cracked black pepper and cedar; subtle, roasted herbs; bracing, lifted acidity that keeps everything quite high-toned. The oak reveals itself in wisps of dark chocolate that never threaten to overtake the wine. This is a stunning find for Syrah nerds like myself.

Staff Image By: Andrew Stevens | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/20/2018 | Send Email
This is one of those deals that we seemingly continuously create and yet somehow are remarkable each time, namely that we get serious, delicious wine at prices seen nowhere else. Take this all estate biodynamic and all the other buzz words and proper practices Syrah, it is actually fantastic and at an incredible price. Seriously, this wine has a lovely nose of ripe berry with touches of savory notes. Medium body with a surprising tart yet broad acid notes leads to a long finish.

Staff Image By: Kirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/16/2018 | Send Email
Wow! That is what you can expect with your first sniff of this wine. The nose is heavy it is so rich. Dark macerated cherry and pomegrante backed with sweet woodsy notes, whiffs of tar and then laden with lots of pepper. The wine is big but polished with an almost creamy roundness, just no cream. More blue fruits come to play on the palate and again big spice. This is an intense wine, that doesn't require an intense meal. A perfect bridge for anyone who loves Rhone wines and wants to try some of the best wine coming from South Africa at a crazy reasonable price.

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.
Alcohol Content (%): 13.5
Organic: