22 Jul #WineWednesday features South African Shiraz
Shiraz is able to age for many years, even decades, due to its complex tannins, good body and high acidity. Shiraz thrives in the South African growing conditions of icy cold, wet winters and glorious hot summers.
The vines love the highest vineyards with the best views where the soil is made up of course, stony granite. This makes the vines produce less, but therefore more concentrated grapes. Yields are usually low, yet in the Cape, more Shiraz than any other red grape variety was crushed in 2013. Today Shiraz is the second most-planted red variety in South Africa after Cabernet Sauvignon. Compared to the rest of the world South Africa has the fourth largest plantings of Shiraz. It is fairly disease-resistant yet sensitive to strong wind and it has a tough skin with succulent flesh that ripens mid- to late season.
It is believed that South Africa was the first country outside of France to be exposed to Shiraz in the 1650s. The first confirmation of it being planted on South African soil was at the end of the 1890s in the Groot Constantia Vineyards.
Typical aromas and flavours include blackberries, plums, black cherries, smoke, spice, black pepper, smoked meat, chocolate, liquorice, mint, blueberry, espresso and truffles. These can all be found on some of the notable Shiraz wines from South Africa. It is a versatile variety, and can make elegant and restrained wines, as well as wines bursting with fruit and oak.
See Backsberg Shiraz.