Wine of Origin Ceres Plateau

This vineyard is planted into the Bokkeveld shale soils of the Witzenberg mountain range, atop the Ceres Plateau. Situated in one of South Africa most elevated growing regions, this vineyard has an altitude of over 1000m.

Winemaker: Jean Smit
Cultivar: 100% Syrah
Origin: Ceres Plateau
Tasting notes:

This rare, high-altitude wine makes an impressive entrance, with savoury Hoisin sauce, raspberry, and red cherry elements on the nose. Its unique terroir is felt on the palate, as vibrant pomegranate and more red berries cut through deeper elements of blackberry and cherry candy. The fruit elements are corseted by a delicately-stitched tannic frame, segueing into a finish of gentle clove, star anise, and lingering pomegranate.


This vineyard is at the top of the Ceres Plateau in the Witzenberg mountain range, and is planted with the SH1C clone. This well-drained slope of Bokkeveld shale (formed over 400mil years ago) is very steep, which – for the most part prevents frost from becoming an issue. During the winter periods, however, this vineyard gets covered with snow to ensure a textbook dormancy for the vines. Budbreak is very even, but the ripening is much slower than in other regions. This is usually the last vineyard to be picked for the Damascene range. The average rainfall in the area is roughly 800mm per annum, with an incredibly high diurnal range; showcasing classic continental growing conditions. The marked different between day and night slows down the ripening process and delivers fruit with supreme balance between natural acidity and the intense flavour, colour and tannin. In winter, the north-western winds blow in from West Coast, bringing the rain. In summer, the cooling southeast winds blow onto this slope in the Ceres Plateau.


The fruit was harvested by hand on March 31st at 24.3°B. Syrah from the Ceres Plateau has massive intensity and therefore one needs to take one’s foot off the pedal in the winery to achieve wines that are balanced. The higher level of natural tannins in the fruit dictated that only 60% of the fruit needed to be fermented as whole clusters. The rest of the fruit was de-stemmed and fermented as whole berries. Fermentation took place in tulip-shaped concrete fermenters, with pump-overs being limited to a maximum of two per day during the peak of fermentation. The submerged-cap technique was used during fermentation to soften the structure of the wine, while still showcasing the intensity of these high-altitude vineyards. Primary fermentation took place spontaneously, using only naturally-occurring yeasts. Malolactic conversion also occurred spontaneously, after which the wine was matured in 1000-litre conical French oak vats for 11 months. The wine was bottled without fining to ensure a more complex and authentic expression of Syrah.


This wine will be at its most expressive within 3-5 years of vintage but, with careful cellaring, will continue to evolve and improve for more than a decade.


TOTAL PRODUCTION 2650 x 750ml and 70 x 1.5L | BOTTLING DATE 18 January 2023 | Alc: 13.16 % | Vol pH: 3.9 | TA: 4.7 g/L | RS: 1.1 g/L | VA: 0.52 g/L