The Fledge & Co Syrah
Platter 4.5 Stars
The Fledge & Co is the fabulous winemaking venture from Margaux Nel (younger daughter of Carel Nel and winemaker at the family winery, Boplaas) and her husband Leon Coetzee. They handcraft tiny quantities of different wines from specific vineyard sites all over the Cape winelands. Often using exciting "experimental" techniques like extended skin contact, whole bunch pressing etc. They travel 20,000km to hand harvest the grapes from 35 different vineyards.
This is Syrah grown on shale at a secret vineyard Leon has been watching for the last seven years. He added a small amount of Viognier from the neighbouring vineyard too. Hand harvested in the early hours of the morning, fermented in open top cement lagars then aged for nine months in French oak before being bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Again very French in style. The wine is ruby red and crystal clear. On the palate it is medium bodied with good mouthfeel. Some lovely red fruit flavours initially then there is a lift from the viognier toward the long finish. Perfect balance throughout. This is a classy wine, again not a blockbuster, but elegant and delicious.
Leon informs me:
"Philosophy – Sometimes what one thinks is the familiar, is the unfamiliar. Syrah, or Shiraz, is a grape very much open to interpretation of site, viticulture & viniculture while stubbornly showcasing its inherent traits. Our aim is to craft a reflection of site, vintage & of what we enjoy drinking.
Vineyard – A small site of clone SH-99 Syrah is wedged in among extremely shale rich soil with a top layer of chunky decomposed sandstone shale, quartz & clay in near perfect continental climatic conditions. The neighbouring site of Viognier is also super shale rich, but with more decomposition & higher content of brown-red clay. After 7 years of being tempted by this little block we took the plunge & are now co-farming this plot of vines.. Quite possibly the most tempestuous vintage in the Cape – super low winter rainfall, early spring, hot summer, heat waves & erratic weather – though this site was spared a bit, it resulted in earlier harvesting & a more lean, linear wine.
Vinification – The last fruit of the vintage harvested the 3rd week of March, picked solely on taste & a half a bin of ripe ‘n rich Viognier from the adjacent vineyard was added for good measure. Crushed into a small open-top cement fermenter, allowed a day & a half cold soak prior to inoculation with a Pinot-specific yeast strain, gently pigeaged over the week long slow cold ferment, gently pressed & racked off into three third-fill 500L French oak puncheons and a single old 300L French oak hogshead to complete ferment & 9 month barrel maturation. The wine spent a further two months in a stainless-steel tank in cold storage at -5⁰C prior to bottling unfined & unfiltered. Only yeast & small amounts of sulphur are added during the process.
Wine – This vintage is compact, svelte & slow to unfurl, with an unmistakable underlying Syrah-ness wrapped up in tart red berries, pomegranate & tea leaf with mouth-whetting acidity and long savoury finish which will become more prominent with bottle maturation. Deserving of accompaniment by rustic country fare – slow roast leg of lamb, waterblommetjiebredie with sweet potato mash, char-grilled T-bone or sirloin on the bone with Hollandaise ‘n shoe-string fries or simply a selection of charcuterie, fine fromage - good company & much cheer. Decant in youth or cellar to experience its full potential in the decade to come."
|Winery||Fledge & Co|
|Winery status||Just Leon & Margaux!|
|Winemaker||Leon & Margaux|
|Annual production||1896 bottles|
|Grapes||Syrah and a hint of Viognier|
|Product awards||Platter 4.5 Stars for the 2017|