S. African shiraz test won by Saxenberg
Saxenberg, a South African winery using 100% own-grown fruit from its Kuils River farm near Stellenbosch, took top honors in the 2006 Wine magazine TOPS at SPAR Shiraz Challenge.
TOPS at SPAR is the leading chain of liquor and wine stores in South Africa.
The challenge drew a record 215 entries, with Saxenburg’s Private Collection 2003 taking top honors just ahead of the 2004 Koelfontein Shiraz. Each was rated 4.5 stars.
Seven others achieved 4-star status:
• Avondale Syrah 2003
• Bon Cap Syrah 2004
• Cloof The Very Sexy Shiraz 2004
• Fairview Solitude Shiraz 2003
• Groote Post Shiraz 2003
• Marianne Shiraz 2004
• Raka Biography Shiraz 2004
The winning entry came from winemaker Nico van der Merwe, the cellarmaster at Saxenburg for the past 16 years.
Judges' tasting notes for the 4.5 and 4.0 star wines:
Saxenberg Shiraz 2003
Cellar Price: $14+ (US)
"Complex nose with clean, ripe fruit balanced by pepper and spice. Palate is medium bodied with black fruit matched by firm but elegant tannins. Oak is very well managed. Long finish."
Koelfontein Shiraz 2004
Cellar Price: $8+ (US)
"Nose shows very ripe black fruit and some peppery herbaceous notes. Palate is full bodied and dense. Lots of dark fruit and firm tannins, but well integrated. Well balanced. Long finish."
Bon Cap Syrah 2004
Cellar Price: $7+ (US)
"Plenty of pepper and spice to go with abundant red fruit on the nose. Palate is medium bodied and elegant. Oak noticeable for some but should intergrate in time. Long dry finish."
Groote Post Shiraz 2003
Cellar Price: $9+ (US)
Nose is very forthcoming and shows dark fruit, some fragrant notes, spice and oak char. Palate is full bodied, intense and complex. Juicy, ripe fruit matched by elegant tannins.
Cloof The Very Sexy Shiraz 2004
Cellar Price: $9+ (US)
Dark fruit and pepper on the nose. Ripe on the palate with soft tannins. Accessible.
Avondale Syrah 2003
Cellar Price: $10+ (US)
Nose shows berry fruit and some herbaceous notes. Appealing texture in the mouth - soft and round.
Raka Biography Shiraz 2004
Cellar Price: $11+ (US)
"Forward nose showing ripe dark fruit, some perfumed notes and pepper. Palate is rich and layered. Good balance between sweet ripe fruit and oak. Long finish."
Marianne Shiraz 2004
Cellar Price: $19+ (US)
"Ripe berry fruit as well as spice and pepper on the nose. Oak quite prominent at this stage but also shows dense fruit, which suggests this wine will benefit from time in bottle."
Fairview Solitude Shiraz 2003
Cellar Price: $20+ (US)
"Nose shows red fruit, pepper and light oak notes. Palate shows concentrated fruit offset by soft, pleasing tannins and refreshing acid."
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Posted by William M. Dowd at 10:53 AM