February Wines of the Month: Hidden Valley Lands End Cape Agulhas Syrah 2007 & Pó de Poeira Red 2008

As you’ll have picked up from this week’s posts about Pinot Noir (here and here), it’s not for no reason it’s dubbed the heartbreak grape.  Nonetheless, its perfume and slinky elegance have seduced winemakers not just to make it or drink it, but also to capture some of its super sensual qualities when working with other varieties.    The results can be inspirational.

Take my Australia trip last year – leading young Shiraz Turks Alex MacKay of Collector Wines, Canberra and Dan Buckle of Mount Langi Ghiran are, as MacKay put it making Shiraz “more like Burgundy in the context of Australia….fine-boned, medium bodied, aromatic and made a bit like Burgundy too.”  

For Buckle,  Australia’s Pinot Noir phenomenon has had a knock-on effect – “consumers are not looking so much at power and weight, which allows you to explore medium-bodied Shiraz in a way previously not possible.” 

And I was excited this week to discover a South African Shiraz, Syrah even, in the same vein, not least because it’s for a Sip & Savour tasting at Michelin-starred restaurant Tamarind later this month, so it’s critical that the wine’s tannins are soft enough to smooze spices and not rub them up the wrong way.  Hidden Valley Land End Cape Agulhas Syrah 2007 (pictured) is one of my wines of the month together with the super silky, perfumed Pó de Poeira Red 2008 from the Douro, Portugal. 

Hidden Valley Land End Cape Agulhas Syrah 2007 (Elim )

Bright ruby/crimson, with a delicate kiss, we’re talking brush of the lips, of spicy, cedary oak to its ripe red berry and cherry fruit supported by fine tannins.  A stylish, elegant Syrah with just a hint of black pepper spice on the finish, which builds in intensity on day two – a terrific expression of cool climate Syrah from a vineyard just 17km from Cape Agulhas, South Africa’s most Southerly point.   £203.36/case of 12 at Everywine


Pó de Poeira Red 2008 (the Douro)

One of my picks of the New Douro 2008 vintage tasting this relatively modest, silky, mineral-sluiced wine just sings with gorgeous violet top notes to its black cherry fruit and a subtle hint of spice.  Joyous!  Sadly it’s not available in the UK.  The Portuguese are keeping this one to themselves – €10.80 at Estado Liquido.

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