(2021) South Africa's own grape, Pinotage (a cross of Pinot Noir and Cinsault) has to be handled carefully to coax the best from it, but when that happens the result can be delicious and fine wines like this from Lemberg's vineyards in Tulbagh, the remote and wild vine country to the north of the main winelands. Picked in the early morning for coolness, grapes were hand sorted and the wine was aged in a combination of 300L and 500L French oak barrels for 18 months. It's a sumptuous style, brimming with plush black fruit, coffee and tobacco spicing, but with a buoyant cherry edge. In the mouth it is creamy and has a certain chocolaty character to the tannins, but the fruit depth and very good balance of acidity and a Pinot-like truffle quality contribute to a compelling picture. Watch the video for more information.
(2013) 100% Syrah. More closed than the Lion's at this stage, lots of cedar, lots of classic, really well defined lightly earthy quality. The palate has a racy twist of liquorice and endive adding dramatic dark bite. Lots of juicy dark cherry fruit, fine acid balance again and the tannins adding enough roughening presence whilst being ripe and really quite fine. A tight baby at this stage that needs a few years, but lovely concentration and balance. 310 Rand locally.
(2013) A touch of Viognier in this, blended back from the subsequent vintage. A nice touch of the peachy quality of Viognier, but not dominating at all, not floral or peachy. Fine cedary background, the solidity and rasping freshness of the black fruit - lovely tart elements as well as sweetness - is really good. A twist of liquorice and endive again here, also a little charry oak quality adding depth, and this has length, spice and concentration. Arguably a little more Barossa than Rhone, but it does not lack elegance or freshness in the finish.
(2010) Around 80% Syrah. Deep, powerful, meaty nose, with masses of dusty, rich, bramble fruit. Pepper, clove and spice, the palate also chewy, savoury and grippy. Robust, but with a refined finish too.
(2010) Big, robust wine with a touch of bacon fat and wood smoke, and lots of very spicy, deep-set black fruit. There's great chocolaty richness here, with fantastic juiciness. Lovely dry extract and terrific quality and length and seems very youthful.