Porcupine Ridge Syrah 2008
Syrah/Shiraz from South Africa
"The wild one" - Powerful and full bodied with concentrated flavours of black pepper, raspberry, mulberry and liquorice. The porcupine Syrah has a long finish with a bitter chocolate aftertaste.
Wine Enthusiast - "his Syrah has a rustic but elegant nature: aromas of raspberry, black pepper, smoked sausage and cloves prevail, while full-bodied but integrated flavors of anise, pepper and berry follow. The wine is robust but has a velvety character and a spicy finish. "
International Wine Cellar - "Bright deep red. Dark raspberry, pepper, caramel, woodsmoke and mocha on the nose, plus an exotic whiff of spicecake: very syrah. Then lush, chocolatey and easygoing, with an attractive sweetness to the middle palate. Finishes with dusty tannins and a note of woodsy soba broth. A lot of syrah for $13."
Porcupine Ridge Winery
In 1652 Jan van Riebeeck, a Dutch surgeon, eager to find a way to relieve the symptoms of scurvy, suggested to the Dutch East India Company that the Cape Province of South Africa would be suitable for growing grapes. Nine years later, the first wine was pressed from grapes grown on cuttings brought from France. The prime grape growing areas of South Africa spread out from Cape Town, and include the Paarl ("pearl" in Afrikaans), which to the east encompasses Franschhoek ("French corner"), home of the first French Huguenot settlers. Boekenhoutskloof, its homestead dating from 1784, is located in the Franschhoek Valley.
Marc Kent is the winemaker for the Boekenhoutskloof wines as well as the range of wines called Porcupine Ridge. There are approximately 20 hectares of vines at Boekenhoutskloof - 25% of which are planted to white varieties: Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Viognier; and 75% of which consist of reds: Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.
Porcupine Ridge is a handcrafted range of wines, celebrated for its uncompromising commitment to quality. The wines carry a distinctive label featuring an original pen and ink of the crested porcupine drawn by leading South Africa wildlife artist, Zakkie Eloff. These crested porcupines inhabit the vineyards of the Boekenhoutskloof homestead. View all Porcupine Ridge Wines
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A long history of growing grapes and making wine, but less of a history on exporting it, and even lesser on the quality aspect. At the turn of the century (1900, that is), a surplus of wine in South Africa created a hierarchy of cooperatives, the biggest and best known being KWV. This organization seemed to favor quantity over quality and had most control over wines and vineyards until the late 1980's. Now, with a bit more competition, quality is coming around. Yet, South African wine was not even seen in American wine stores until the mid-1990's – the trade embargo on the country for their racial apartheid laws kept South African wine out of the US. When apartheid fell, so did the embargo, and SA bottles began showing up on US shelves.
White wine has always been the cash crop of South Africa, with much of it distilled to make brandy. More white than red is planted, much of it the Steen variety – known elsewhere in the world as Chenin Blanc. Good producers are making top quality dry wines from this grape. Another grape gaining some raves is Sauvignon Blanc, producing whites that are dry and crisp, yet rounder than many of its Southern Hemisphere counterparts. For reds, the top grapes are Syrah/Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon (& blends) and Pinotage. Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends was once the favorite and most-produced, but Shiraz is taking over as wineries crank out high quality wines from the variety. Pinotage, which used to be a grape only your mother could love, has improved dramatically and is often as delicious as it is distinctive. The most popular regions of the country include Stellenbosch and Paarl.
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Notable FactsWhite wine has always been the cash crop of South Africa, with much of it distilled to make brandy. More white than red is planted, the majority of it is Steen – known elsewhere in the world as Chenin Blanc. Good producers are making top quality dry wines from this grape. Another grape the critics rave aboutSauvignon Blanc, producing whites that are dry and crisp, yet rounder than many of its Southern Hemisphere counterparts. For reds, the top grapes are Syrah/Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon (& blends) and Pinotage. Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends were once the favorite and most-produced, but Shiraz is taking over as wineries crank out high quality wines from the variety. Pinotage, a man-made crossing between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, has improved dramatically and is often as delicious as it is distinctive. In describing red wines in South Africa, smoky and meaty are two terms that are common. Regionally, the most popular wine-making areas include Stellenbosch and Paarl.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.
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