Tiny allocation of one of the new world's most sought-after Syrah's, Porseleinberg has been described by the critics as one the Cape's most exciting reds.
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"We pick the vintage," says Callie Louw, whose 2020 Porseleinberg is the second lightest in alcohol he's ever made at 13.6%. Fermented with 100% whole bunches using the submerged cap technique that transformed the wine in 2018, this is another scented, seamless stunner from Callie Louw. Aged in large foudres and 5% concrete eggs, it's a spicy, sappy, hauntingly elegant Syrah from a brutal site, with kelp, rose petal and fynbos aromas, juicy bramble and red berry fruit, fine tannins and a wonderful sense of energy. 2024-32
The 2020 Porseleinberg is aged for 12 months in foudres, blended in concrete and then aged 16 months in bottle. It is very fragrant on the nose with black fruit, white pepper, fennel and hints of lavender, not unlike a mature Jamet in style. The palate is medium-bodied with a light and peppery entry, beautifully proportioned with fine tannins. Old World in style, very focused, it gently builds momentum to a bewitchingly complex Porseleinberg that will give 20-30 years drinking pleasure. Divine.
Porseleinberg is a world-class Syrah grown in the Swartland region of South Africa. Is it often compared to Jamet Cote-Rotie when tasted blind. Porseleinberg, aptly named after the porcelain-like mountain range, is home to sprawling vineyards that span across the dry and stony hills.The winery was founded by Mark Kent of Boekenhoutskloof whilst sourcing fruit for his other ventures when Kent instantly saw the potential of the schist soils of the Porseleinberg mountains. Rumour has it that the grapes grown on the farm that Kent purchased used to go into making early vintages of Eben Sadie’s legendary Columella. Porseleinberg is run separately from Boekenhoutskloof allowing it to express its very own individual identity and authenticity creating a one-of-a-kind winery in South Africa.
At the heart of Porseleinberg's triumph lies its invaluable secret weapon: the schist soil. This rare and exceptional geological formation forms the very foundation of the vineyard's success. The pure blue schist, rich in minerals and nutrients, imparts a distinctive character to the grapes, resulting in wines of extraordinary depth and complexity. This bedrock, unique to the Swartland region, acts as the nurturing mother to the vines, instilling them with resilience and allowing them to thrive even in challenging conditions. The interplay between the vines' roots and the ancient schist creates an enchanting harmony, producing wines that are both powerful and elegant, capturing the essence of Porseleinberg's terroir.
Callie Lou and the blue schist soil of Porseleinberg
Callie Louw oversees both the winemaking and viticulture at Porseleinberg which is run independently from Kent’s other wineries. Callie Louw is a classic vigneron living amongst the vines believing that the vineyard makes great wines. His technique of employing whole bunch fermentation using the submerged cap method, a inspiration drawn from the Rhône Valley, contributes to the wine's old-world swagger. A portion finds its resting place within concrete eggs or vats, while others mature in foudres. This meticulous approach creates a wine that exudes aromatic allure on the nose, with delicate notes of florals and white pepper. On the palate, it reveals impeccable definition, energized with vitality. It is Louw's steadfast commitment to crafting powerfully structured, terroir-driven Syrahs that has been the key to Porseleinberg's success.
When tasting Porseleinberg blind, one is often led to believe that they are experiencing a wine hailing from the renowned Côte-Rôtie region. Domaine Jamet, a producer of great distinction, is often mentioned by esteemed critics such as Tim Atkin MW and Neal Martin. In his notes on the 2019 vintage, Martin remarked that the wine was "very Rhône-like in style" and brought to mind a Jamet Côte-Rôtie he had tasted the previous month. Similarly, his review of the 2020 vintage compared it directly to Jamet. Tim Atkin MW echoes this sentiment, stating in his 2018 review that the wine was "just short of perfection this year, but is still brilliant, confirming the evolution in style of the Jamet-inspired 2018."
Its unique terroir and devotion to traditional winemaking techniques have resulted in wines that showcase the true essence of the Swartland region.