Wine of Origin Stellenbosch

Syrah grapes were sourced from three distinct vineyards; a cloud-covered Polkadraai hill, a granitic outcrop in Bottelary, and a sheltered nook in Devon Valley.

Winemaker: Jean Smit
Cultivar: 100% Syrah
Origin: Stellenbosch
Tasting notes:

Vanguard aromas present a striking tapestry of spice, fruit, and herbs. Notes of dried rosemary, fennel, rocket leaf, and Madagascan pink peppercorn form vertical seams, interwoven with broader horizontals of blackberries, red cherry, and spiced orange rind. On the palate, this wine exhibits remarkable agility, with fine yet firm fruit skin tannins framing high-contrast flavours of juicy blackberry, sour cherry, white pepper, and fennel. The wine concludes with a lingering flourish of dried violets, lavender, and raspberry.


Syrah grapes were sourced from two distinct vineyard sites in the Stellenbosch district. Both vineyards are situated higher than 300-metres above sea level, planted with SH9 and SH22 Syrah clones. The soils are dominated by decomposed granite, and each site brings its own nuance and complexity to the wine. The vineyard in the Polkadraai Hills was planted on a southeast-facing slope in 1996, and the fruit from this vineyard makes up about 80% of the final blend. This component contributes impressive levels of perfume and spice to the wine. The Damascene viticultural team has also planted a further 1.2 ha on this site to ensure continuity of supply into the future. Finally, the firm structure and fruit intensity on the wine comes from a low-yielding vineyard planted in granitic soils in the Bottelary ward; a ‘mother unit’ planted in 2001 along a northwest aspect.


The fruit for this wine was harvested by hand between 16 and 23 March, 2022, at a ripeness of between 24.1 and 25.3˚B. The fruit was chilled down to 8˚C overnight prior to fermentation. To showcase the impact of site in the formation of a Stellenbosch Syrah, the harvested fruit was separated into numerous smaller fermentation batches, with the whole cluster fraction of each batch ranging from 60-75 percent per vessel. Fermentation took place in tulip-shaped concrete fermenters and 1000-litre conical French oak vats, which received pump-overs twice per day. The remaining two 1000-litre conical oak vats were treated with the ‘submerged cap’ technique to enhance the body and fruit concentration of the wine. All fermentations took place spontaneously with naturally-occurring yeasts. Malolactic conversion occurred spontaneously, with maturation in 2000-litre conical Austrian 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 three to five years of vintage but, with careful cellaring, will continue to evolve and improve for more than a decade.


TOTAL PRODUCTION 6600 x 750ml and 90 x 1.5L | BOTTLING DATE 16 January 2023 | Alc: 13.1 % Vol | pH: 3.91 | TA: 4.7 g/L | RS: 1.2 g/L | VA: 0.52 g/L