Wine of Origin Swartland

Three vineyards at differing altitudes, planted into granite, schist, and Malmesbury shale, coalesce to express a vivid snapshot of Swartland Syrah.

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

From three divergent Swartland sites. Soils of granite, schist, shale and ferricrete act as building blocks to achieve striking, harmonious balance. The purity, perfume and spice of granite-grown fruit is complemented by the more earthy tones of grapes harvested from shale and schist outcrops, imbuing the wine with structure and depth.
By far the moodiest of the Damascene Syrah trio, the Swartland expression opens with impressive aromatic depth; showing wild blackberries, aniseed, mulberries, and savoury Kalamata olive tapenade. The weighty palate keeps pace with the vanguard, possessing the power to support vivid ripe blackberry and black plum fruit, underpinned by tightly-wound, firm black cherry skin tannins. The muscled fruit core is garnished with star anise, Sichuan pepper, and accents of clove, along with subtle touches of red peppercorn on the plum-laden finish.


The vineyards supplying the fruit for this wine are farmed on three impressively disparate Swartland sites. The first bush vine block is situated on the foothills of the Paardeberg, on Jakkalsfontein farm, and is deeply rooted in ancient free-draining decomposed granite soils. This site is northwest-facing and brings perfume, spice and purity to the wine.The second vineyard is in the heart of the Swartland, facing north. These bush vines are planted on Malmesbury shale and ferricrete, providing striking structure, acidity and a mineral edge. The dominant source is from the western foot of the Kasteelberg at 340m ASL. This slope consists of an outcrop of schist that faces southeast and shows plenty of structure and depth of fruit. Damascene will establish another 2ha of Syrah vineyards on this site in 2023.


This Swartland Syrah has the typical concentration of low-yielding vineyards planted in Mediterranean climatic conditions. In this light, whole berry-fermentation was employed to ensure that there is no shortage of elegance in the final wine. Between 60 and 75% of the fruit was fermented as whole clusters, depending on the parcel.Fermentation took place in tulip-shaped concrete fermenters and two 1000-litre conical oak vats, with pump-overs being limited to a maximum of two per day during peak fermentation. Submerged cap fermentation is used on two of the batches to ensure a broader mouthfeel. All fermentations took place spontaneously, using only naturally occurring yeasts. Malolactic conversion also occurred spontaneously, after which the wine was matured in 2000-litre 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 five years of vintage but, with careful cellaring, will continue to evolve and improve for more than a decade.


TOTAL PRODUCTION 4380 x 750ml and 70 x 1,5L | BOTTLING DATE 16 January 2023| Alc: 12.93 % | Vol pH: 3.9 | TA: 4.9 g/L | RS: 1.2 g/L | VA: 0.6 g/L