Lovely Syrah trio still claims top reviews

SMALL AND PRECIOUS: The Kleinood farm in the Blauwklippen valley outside Stellenbosch specialises in Syrah wines
SMALL AND PRECIOUS: The Kleinood farm in the Blauwklippen valley outside Stellenbosch specialises in Syrah wines

AN OLD Afrikaans word, Kleinood means “something small and precious” – an apt description of both this small, very pretty farm in the Blaauwklippen Valley outside Stellenbosch, and its small annual output of 45000 or so bottles of rather lovely wine.

Specialising in syrah (the more French version of shiraz), the farm produces just three wines from its 10 hectares – the Katharien Syrah Rosé, a viognier and the flagship syrah.

The intensely pink Katharien 2013 is soft and rounded, with a hint of the burnt sugar of candy- floss. It’s mouth-wateringly summery and crying out to be sipped with a juicy seared salmon steak.

Viognier, says winemaker Gunter Schultz, “is very expressive, but tends to behave like a wild stallion and needs to be calmed down”. His calming measures seem to be working.

The 2013 edition is aromatic with a full, smooth mouthfeel, intense flavours and a citrusy finish. Its 2012 sister is the “refined and sophisticated supermodel” says Schultz, with some salty-savoury overtones, soft butter and vanilla, and a hint of nuttiness.

The highlight of the tasting that he presented at For Love of Wine recently was a vertical comparison of the 2006, 2007 and 2009 vintages of the syrah.

It’s not hard to see why the syrah regularly receives 4 ½ stars from Platter’s. The ’09 is deep and dark, with a heady spicy nose and savoury “umami” flavours from an added dash of Mourvedre.

The ’07 has just a touch more Mourvedre than the ’09, giving it more of that savoury character with a distinct Marmite nose and a spicy finish, with intense blackcurrant fruitiness along the way.

Although it started out seeming a bit thin, a few minutes in the glass opened up the ’06 into a round, juicy and more floral wine than the other two.

About half the audience preferred the more typical syrah in the ’09, and the rest were divided on ’06 vs ’07. Interesting, the lovers of the ’09 also preferred the more traditional flavours of the 2013 viognier to the more mature 2012.

ýAlthough Kleinood won’t be at The Wine Show 2014 at The Boardwalk from July 31 to August 2, wine lovers will still be spoilt for choice with a selection of more than 300 wines from 60-odd estates, from big-name brands to boutique outfits. The Wine Extra Theatre will present talks and tastings of wine paired with odd partners like cupcakes and biltong, as well as showcasing new wine ranges. Tickets are R90 from Computicket or R100 at the door.

– A Vine Time, with Sam Venter

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