The 2018 vintage is the first in which Louw used the submerged-cap technique – and there’s an instant shift in the style of the wine. It’s brighter, more aromatic with more intense herbal and spicy notes, while the palate is layered with juicier, crunchy red fruit that masks the tannins. The finish is long, spicy and mineral. Superb. Aged for 12 months in 90% foudre and 10% concrete egg.
Anthony Mueller, Wine Advocate
Stephen Tanzer, Vinous
More reviews and scores
Beginning with a dark ruby core with magenta highlights, the 2018 Syrah open to a bright, lifted fruit array with intense aromatics of black cherry, dark plum and black raspberry before making way to a beautiful spice rack of black peppercorn, dried herbs and freeze-dried strawberry with a mineral essence. Medium to full-bodied, the wine continues to somersault in the mouth, offering a delightful array of dusty roses, lavender and lilac, black peppercorn and potpourri. Juicy acidity and high toned, red fruit flavors express in waves with a kiss of iodine and umami with a delightful mineral tension. The wine finishes with elements of graphite and black raspberry that sway with a taught, dusty essence, long, lingering spice notes and firm, buttressing tannins. 27,600 bottles were produced by winemaker Callie Louw. The 2018 is a glowing success compared to last year's tannin parade; this may be the best vintage yet. The 2018 vintage marks the first time the Syrah received a submerged cap fermentation, which focused the expression, delivering a lifted and floral edge with a balanced structure and fine-tuned tannic structure, reminding me of Syrah from the Walla Walla Valley. It’s time to start collecting these wines if you are unfamiliar with them. Bravo! I'm finishing my glass and not spitting this tasting sample!
The 2018 Porseleinberg is 100% whole-bunch-fermented in concrete; this is the first vintage that winemaker Callie Louw submerged the cap. It has a complex bouquet of blackberry, melted tar, clove and light garrigue aromas, all beautifully defined and focused, constantly changing in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy black fruit, touches of white pepper on the entry and firm tannins. This is very Old World in style, leading to a very peppery finish that is slightly drier and more saturnine than previous vintages. While not the greatest Porseleinberg I have tasted, it is a testament to its high standards that it still ranks among the best wines of the vintage.
We finished with a brilliant 2018 Porseleinberg that I reviewed recently. It offers blackberry, clove and touches of garrigue on the nose, and displays density and exquisite balance on the palate and a dash of pepper on the finish. This is a wonderful South African wine that will age beautifully over the next 20 years.