As readers of this blog will know, at La Motte we are passionate about Shiraz and have been at the forefront of developing this varietal in South Africa. It has not been easy and meant convincing an international audience that South Africa could produce great shiraz.
Michael Fridjhon in a recent wine column in Business day nicely summed up where shiraz winemakers have come from and what where we are going. Here are a couple of paragraphs from his article:
“Five years ago, international tasters and wine critics had no time for South African shiraz. Many of them also did not think highly of South African cabernet and positively reviled pinotage. It’s probably fair to say that our red wines in general were less well received abroad than at home…
“(However in recent years there has been an)emergence of a new generation of serious players, who have identified their better vineyards and are managing the fruit in a way that suggests there are some sites that truly offer an expression of place…
“They are all conspicuous examples of the emergence of a serious class of Cape shiraz producers, all drawing their fruit from quite specific sites and all honing their winemaking to optimise the expression of the grape, as well as a sense of its place of origin. Unsurprisingly, none tastes as if it was made in the Northern Rhone, or in South Australia.
‘The overseas critics who thought so little of South African shiraz five years ago are now showing marked interest in the top end of our market.
‘At least — when it comes to shiraz — we’ve gone from being bad producers of cheap-and-cheerful bottlings to contenders for a place in the cellars of serious collectors.”