The fruit for this Syrah comes from a really good site up on the slopes of Devon Valley. Planted on deep red, iron rich clay soils as opposed to the Faure Syrah which is grown on decomposed granite and sand. 100% whole-bunch fermentation to add spiciness and finesse of tannin from the bunches to the wine. It then goes into old oak for 10 months. It is vinified just like the Faure Syrah, the goal being to show how diverse Syrah can be in Stellenbosch. When you taste the two wines it is quite clear. The Firs is darker, more black fruits like blackberry, dark plums and black cherry but also complex and supple. Both wines are really hitting their straps now with some time in bottle.
Drink the Firs with roast leg of lamb, braised beef cheeks or an aged hard cheese.
Varietal / Blend: Syrah/Shiraz
Farming Practices: Sustainable
"Our story begins back in 2007 while both 'dragging hose' in Sonoma, California, for the harvest season. A chance meeting between an Aussie and a South African has eventually turned into Craven Wines. After both having taken to the text books at our respective universities, we decided to hit the road, see lots of things, work in lots of places and try and learn as much as possible from this massive wine world. Since meeting we have both been on a similar journey to try and find exactly what we wanted to do. Luckily enough, we had very similar ideas.
So back in 2011 we moved to Stellenbosch, South Africa, a place we both have an affinity for. We both feel Stellenbosch has such an amazing array of sites and terroir, and that it is perfect for what we want to do. Which is make site-specific, honest wines. Let the grapes do the talking.... In terms of 'winemaking' we like to keep things as simple as possible. To try and achieve the wines we want to make, we feel the best methods are being hands off, while being very hands on. In other words we pay serious attention to the wine but we do not manipulate the wine. We believe the best way to express site and fruit is to show just that. We do not use cultured yeasts, enzymes, fining agents, etc. throughout the winemaking process. We only use older oak and try our best to find larger format barrels. We allow our wines to stabilise naturally if they so want to. Essentially a minimal amount of SO2 (which is our friend) is the only thing added to our wines."