Planted in 2005 on the steep midslopes of the Helderberg Mountain range, Steepside Syrah sits at an elevation of 300m. Vines grow in rich red clay loam soils with high levels of iron and quartzite originating from the peaks above. The combination of these deep granitic soils and the intensity of the sunshine on the North facing ridge allows the vineyard to produce wines with power and structure, while the spicy herbal aromatics can be attributed to the elevation and the pristine fynbos flora that surround it.
All grapes used in producing our wines are grown on Keermont Vineyards. Small parcels of grapes are specifically selected according to ripeness, harvested by hand and vinified separately. Fermentation is carried out by yeast which occurs naturally on the grape skins and in the winery. Red wines spend three to four weeks fermenting and macerating on the skins in small open top tanks with one or two gentle ‘punch-downs’ performed per day. This wine spent 20 months maturing in seasoned 225L and 500L French oak barrels before being bottled by hand without filtration. Only 1270 bottles were produced.
Lighter, bright red in colour the Steepside Syrah has expressive dusty red fruit character on the nose with hints of cloves and fynbos. The palate is soft and subtle with a gentle silky tannin structure. Savoury plum and pear fruit flavours are complimented by a hint of herbs and black pepper. The delicate flavours and tannin linger into a succulent dry finish. Drink 2020-2028
The 2016 vintage was a challenging one for the vineyard team. It started with moderate winter temperatures and below average rainfall. Spring came early and was also relatively warm and dry. The weather continued to warm up towards Christmas and we experienced average maximum temperatures of 30°C and 35°C for December and January respectively! Fortunately, we had some rain during December which pepped the vines up leading into the critical ‘veraison’ period over Christmas and into January.
With all of the hot, dry weather the grapes ripened quickly and we started picking earlier than ever before (19 January). We had a crazy month of harvesting where we processed 78 tons of grapes from the farm including 11 different varieties. Harvest ended as quickly as it had begun and by 19 February we had picked all of the grapes for Keermont wines. Steepside yield 2016: 4.6 ton/Ha
Alc: 14.5 %
TA: 4.8 g/L
RS: 3.0 g/L
TSO2: 56 mg/L
VA: 0.66 g/L
STEEPSIDE SYRAH 16: 94 pts NEAL MARTIN
STEEPSIDE SYRAH 16: 96 pts DECANTER
STEEPSIDE SYRAH 16: 92 pts WINE MAGAZINE
STEEPSIDE SYRAH 16: 4 ½ stars PLATTER GUIDE
STEEPSIDE SYRAH 15: 95pts TIM ATKIN (MW)
STEEPSIDE SYRAH 15: 4 ½ stars PLATTER GUIDE
STEEPSIDE SYRAH 15: 92 pts NEAL MARTIN
STEEPSIDE SYRAH 14: 94 pts NEAL MARTIN (Wine Advocate)
STEEPSIDE SYRAH 14: 96 pts TIM ATKIN (MW)
STEEPSIDE SYRAH 14: 4½ stars PLATTER GUIDE
STEEPSIDE SYRAH 12: 96 pts TIM ATKIN (MW)
STEEPSIDE SYRAH 12: TIM ATKIN (MW) – Super Syrah: 70 top New World buys for Rhone Lovers, Decanter Magazine, Sep 2015
STEEPSIDE SYRAH 12: 92 pts NEAL MARTIN (Wine Advocate)
STEEPSIDE SYRAH 12: 4½ stars PLATTER GUIDE