2012 Syrah Haskell Vineyards – Lea & Sandeman £28.95
The Haskell Vineyards estate is in the Helderberg, the revered Stellenbosch sub-region which contains many of South Africa’s greatest wine names.
The 23 hectare estate was originally named Dombeya, after a wild native pear tree that grows in the area, and this is the name used for the ‘Dombeya’ range, which is designed to represent great value at its price point and to offer an insight into the capacity of the estate to make stylish wines of individuality.
In 2002, American Property Tycoon Preston Haskell IV immediately saw the potential of Dombeya Farm at auction and renaming the farm Haskell Vineyards, the central focus became the creation of unique, terroir-driven wines that would be recognized amongst the finest of their style produced in South Africa.
But the Aeon Syrah 2012 is proof that the ‘new world’ can also produce wines of balance and harmony. This wine has it all. It has the impact, the journey and the culmination. Starts with black fruit, dried fruit, dried herbs. Then its structure hits the mid-palate, very potent and firm with superb fine tannins and freshness. Layers and layers of aromas and flavours are the culmination of a never-ending finish: cedar, leather, cracked black pepper, tobacco leaves…
After many successful years making wine for Morgenhof, Rianie Strydom joined Haskell Vineyards as Winemaker and General Manager in 2004. Passionate about making wine and with exceptionally high standards, Rianie quickly set about putting Haskell Vineyards on the map, competing at the Tri-Nations Challenge held in Sydney, Australia in 2009, effortlessly scooping up awards for ‘Best Shiraz’, ‘Best Red Wine’ and ‘Best Wine of Show’ with Haskell Pillars Syrah 2007, pitted against the best South African, Australian and New Zealand entrants. Known as someone who strives for perfection, Rianie achieved ‘Best Upcoming Vineyard’ by Wine Magazine and was the first woman to be given membership of the distinguished Cape Winemakers Guild.
These days the Haskell Vineyards estate of 23 hectares has 14 hectares planted under vine, with grape varietals including Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Shiraz, all under the watchful eye of Rudolph Steenkamp who took over from Rianie in 2018. Approximately 6000 cases are produced every year, half of which is sold within South Africa, the remainder exported throughout Africa, Europe, Asia and America.
After 4 years working for different farms in the US I decided to enrol at Elsenburg Agricultural College in Stellenbosch in 2007.
I completely fell in love with the luscious vineyards, blue mountains and rich culture of Stellenbosch and the Cape Winelands. It was in 2008 when a bottle of Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2005 made me realize I had to study hard, taste more wines and soak up every moment in this beautiful industry to enable me to produce world-class wines.
After Rudolph completed his studies at Elsenburg, he travelled the world, working in Australia and France for a few vintages to gain experience in the wine industry and to broaden his horizons. Before joining the Haskell Team in June 2018, Rudolph was Assistant Winemaker to Boela Gerber at Groot Constantia, where under the guidance of a living legend he refined his skills in the cellar.
In September 2018 Rudolph took over as Winemaker and Vineyard Manager at Haskell Vineyards, and to date has made a positive impact on the farm. With new energy, passion and creativity he believes one has to return to the simplest forms of viticulture, farming the soil and not the vine, to achieve even better quality and greater depth of our already excellent Haskell and Dombeya wines. In a concise and measured way, Rudolph will convert into organic farming, a not insignificant lifestyle decision for Haskell Vineyards. This decision will not only create wines that satisfy wine lovers and connoisseurs around the world but will also have a positive impact on the environment for us, our children and their children.
The greatest wines in the world are made from grapes grown on sites specifically suited to certain varieties. The way that the vine interacts with the soil, site, climate and growing conditions to produce grapes of unique character forms the basis of our understanding of the concept “terroir”.
Production volume: 45 hl/ha
Hand Harvested: 100%
Whole berries: 100%
Fermentation vessel: Open
Barrel Type: French Oak
New Barrel %: 30%
Maturation: 14 Months
Fining: No fining
Filtration: Coarse filtration prior to bottling
Bottled: January 2015
RS: 2.3 g/l
Total acidity: 5.8 g/l