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Essay Syrah 2012

Syrah/Shiraz from South Africa
    14% ABV
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    Currently Unavailable $9.99
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    14% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    This is a medium-bodied red wine with an expressive nose and a soft, lush mouthfeel. The Shiraz and Cinsaut combine to give ripe plum cherry fruit on the palate with a touch of pepper spice. Mourvedre adds complexity with savory and dark fruit aromas. The Viognier adds softness and intriguing floral notes.

    This is modern-styled Cape wine that will complement a wide range of foods. Excellent as a sipping red wine, it will also go well with Asian foods, modern fusion cuisine and Italian dishes.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Essay
    Essay, South Africa
    Image of winery
    The Essay wines are a blended white and a blended red produced by the MAN Family Wines team. These wines best represent the "Mediterranean" style that works exceptionally well in our area.

    They are unique blends of varieties that thrive in our area: the Agter-Paarl and Swartland region of South Africa. The grapes for these wines come from un-irrigated vineyards grown on shale soils that give them distinctive flavor and texture.

    Essay is a play on words: "SA" is the popular abbreviation for "South Africa" used by most people here in the South of Africa, and it also implies an "assemblage" or blending of ingredients to create a whole greater than its parts.

    South Africa

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    With an important wine renaissance is in full swing, impressive red and white bargains abound in South Africa. The country has a particularly long and rich history with winemaking, especially considering its status as part of the “New World.” In the mid-17th century, the lusciously sweet dessert wines of Constantia were highly prized by the European aristocracy. Since then, the South African wine industry has experienced some setbacks due to the phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s and political difficulties throughout the following century.

    Today, however, South Africa is increasingly responsible for high-demand, high-quality wines—a blessing to put the country back on the international wine map. Wine production is mainly situated around Cape Town, where the climate is generally warm to hot. But the Benguela Current from Antarctica provides brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening of grapes. Similarly, cooler, high-elevation vineyard sites throughout South Africa offer similar, favorable growing conditions.

    South Africa’s wine zones are divided into region, then smaller districts and finally wards, but the country’s wine styles are differentiated more by grape variety than by region. Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, is the country’s “signature” grape, responsible for red-fruit-driven, spicy, earthy reds. When Pinotage is blended with other red varieties, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Pinot Noir (all commonly vinified alone as well), it is often labeled as a “Cape Blend.” Chenin Blanc (locally known as “Steen”) dominates white wine production, with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc following close behind.

    Syrah/Shiraz

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    Marked by unmistakable aromatics, a savory palate, and an elegant texture, Syrah is capable of producing fascinatingly complex and long-lived wines with a stunning purple hue. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah’s best examples are found in Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie. It is also an important component of the GSM blends of the Southern Rhône and beyond, alongside Grenache and Mourvèdre. Both varietal Syrah and GSM blends are common in Australia and California and are gaining popularity in Washington State. In Australia, Syrah is known by the synonym Shiraz, which tends to indicate a bolder, fruit-driven style of wine, and is occasionally blended with Cabernet Sauvignon for added depth and structure.

    In the Glass

    At its best, Syrah shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper, smoke, and even bacon fat. Many examples from California aim to recreate this savory style, while others focus more on concentrated fruit flavors. In Australia, under the name Shiraz, it shines as that country’s unofficial signature red grape, producing deep, dark, intense, and often jammy reds.

    Perfect Pairings

    Cool-climate Syrah, with its peppery spices, is a natural match with flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb dishes, where the spice is more about flavor than heat. With Australian Shiraz, grown in warmer regions, heavy meat dishes with abundant protein and fat are a necessity to match the intensity of the wine.

    Sommelier Secret

    Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” this synonym for Syrah has been adopted by winemakers throughout the world. If the label says “Shiraz,” you can typically expect a plush, fruity, and potent wine made in the Australian style. New World "Syrah" will generally more closely resemble the French style.

    RGL4812515_2012 Item# 144250