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Why do we love this case?

This premium roundup of rockin’ South African reds offers six reasons to never look back at another Aussie vino again. Let’s face it, we’d even have our bloody syrah on toast, let alone being offered up a selection of terroirs to try from Gabrielskloof. There’s a badass bottling from our fave flying Alsatian winemaker, and one each from two of the most sought-after cult classic wineries of the continent. Intrigued? Read on to find out more about each. 

Every case comes with one of each of the following:

Red
Other Red
South Africa

Gabriëlskloof Landscape Series Cabernet Franc 2016
Forest Floor
Plum
Tobacco
Full-bodied
Bright
Concentrated
Tim Atkin MW
Angela Lloyd, Platter's Wine Guide 2019
Jamie Goode
Decanter

This is cabernet franc unshackled. Where many Loire Valley examples are light, aromatic, and even a touch shy, this ballsy South African is hedonistic and powerful. There’s tobacco leaf and bell pepper aromatics over a core of dense red fruit encircled by grippy tannins. There’s forest floor complexity and an air of woodsmoke about it. It’s seen 50% new French oak which gives shape and structure, texture and a feeling of importance. Those that haven’t really ‘got’ cab franc in the past, may well fall in love here. It’s what you always wanted the grape to be. Try one as soon as it arrives, then there’s no rush to get through the others.

Red
Shiraz
South Africa

Gabriëlskloof Landscape Series Syrah on Shale 2016
Black Olive
Plum
Savoury
Full-bodied
Bright
Concentrated
Angela Lloyd, Platter's Wine Guide 2019
Sustainable farming

This wine is grown exclusively in shale, given a riper, more generous style than its sandstone sister. The soil retains water better, hence an extra touch of plushness. It’s not all plain sailing for these vines, though. This vineyard faces the full brunt of the south-easterly wind providing just enough stress for the vines to show their true colours. The wine itself shows dark red and black fruit, black olive tapenade and a hint of rooibos character, all held together with some juicy tannins. It’s seen a wild ferment, imbuing it with a uniqueness of place and character. Drink this now through to 2024, with a respectful stint in the decanter first.

Red
Shiraz
South Africa

Gabriëlskloof Landscape Series Syrah on Sandstone 2016
Plum
Spice
Truffle
Medium-bodied
Chalky
Concentrated
Angela Lloyd, Platter's Wine Guide 2019
Sustainable farming

No prizes for guessing what this was grown in… Sandstone defines the character of this wine, setting it apart from its shale sister. The vineyard is in a mountainous region, with vines planted in broken sandstone rock. It’s a merciless landscape, and very tough conditions for vines. The result is low yields of hyper-complex and concentrated grapes. These are pressed, 30% in whole bunches, before 30% new French oak maturation. There’s great depth to the wine, bolstered but not at all hidden by the oak. The savoury palate shows notes of black olive, blueberries, white pepper and violets. Those poor vines seem to have made an incredible wine just to spite us!

Red
Red Blend
South Africa

Rall South Africa Red Blend 2016
Black Olive
Blackberry
Licorice
Medium-bodied
Chalky
Concentrated
Tim Atkin MW, South African Wine Report 2018
Christian Eedes, Vinous

This is something of a cult South African wine. Donovan Rall, the man behind the label, cherry picks his grapes from all over the Rainbow Nation’s winegrowing regions to make some truly fantastic varietal and blended wines. This ‘red’ is largely Rhône inspired. It’s a syrah-dominant blend, with cinsault and carignan making up the difference. Whole bunch pressing is evident from the spicy, crunchy texture that brings the palate to life. It’s darkly savoury, with both tart and ripe blackberries counterbalancing the black olive tapenade, cracked pepper and liquorice flavour profile. It feels like an Islay whisky drinker’s kind of wine. Ok, it’s more approachable than that, but it’s the kind of wine that those who like it will love. 100% age worthy and definitely worth trying, whether you’re just dipping your toe into South Africa or you’re well acquainted.

Red
Grenache Blend
South Africa

Thorne & Daughters Wanderer's Heart Grenache Cinsault Mourvèdre 2017
Floral
Pepper
Raspberry
Medium-bodied
Bright
Concentrated
Jamie Goode
Neal Martin
WineMag.co.za

This wine could have been a meaty, savoury monster of dark earthy flavour. Could have been… It shows the absolute artistry and thoughtfulness of this incredibly maker that it isn’t. Instead, they picked early and went for a light extraction. It’s far more ethereal as a result, characterised by soft floral notes, fennel and white pepper. There’s gentle grippiness that gives the soft strawberries just enough presence, before the mourvèdre adds its own, slightly medicinal tang. The result is beguiling, fun and enthralling. I’d recommend this to anyone who likes nice surprises.

Red
Shiraz
South Africa

Julien Schaal Walker Bay Syrah 2018
Blackberry
Perfumed
Spice
Medium-bodied
Bright
Elegant

This is our favourite Alsatian winemaker’s go at a South African syrah. Truth be told, it’s a bloody good go. It’s rich and voluptuous, loaded with blackberries and spices under a bouquet of heady violets. The grapes are hand-harvested, and sorted in the cool of the cellar to use only the very best fruit. 15% of it gets to see a bit of new French oak, before being blended back into the rest of the wine. The result is a caress of oak rather than a punch, that lets the fruit do the talking. It’s remarkably characterful and charming, and offers fantastic value for money. Oh, and it’s pretty damn delicious.

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