Circumstance Syrah, Stellenbosch - Boutinot

Circumstance Syrah, Stellenbosch 2018



Comparable in style to Northern Rhone wines pre-1980s. One of South Africa's finest examples of Syrah.

Meet the producer

Founded by Paul Boutinot in 2004, Waterkloof is a family-owned farm using organic practices. The farm is perched high...



Living soils and a natural approach to winemaking means that each of the single-varietal wines in the Circumstance range is truly defined by the circumstances influencing the chosen varietal and vineyard blocks, including: soil, aspect, altitude and vintage. Circumstance Syrah is from a single, windswept, south-facing (less sun exposure) block 240-60m above and a mere 2 miles from The Atlantic. These factors combine to produce low yields, balanced grapes and wines with a true sense of place. Production was a miserly 5 tons per hectare. Grapes are hand-harvested and brought to the cellar by horses for hand-sorting. Bunches are sorted and whole-bunch fermentation happens spontaneously with wild yeast in large, open-top wooden fermenters. Manual punch-downs or foot-pressing take place 1-2 times per day and the wine is left on skins for 30 days before going through malolactic fermentation in old 600 litre barrels then ageing for 19 months in the same vessels. No fining, just a light filtration. No additons other than sulphur.

Tasting notes

Black pepper and spice on the nose, complemented by scents of wild flowers, plums and fynbos, the South African equivalent of Garrigues. The palate is fresh and dry, with black plum and sour cherry fruit and hints of cocoa. Bright acidity and firm tannins balance the taut, concentrated fruit leading to a stony minerality on the long finish. Elegant, with great length, a true vin de garde.

Food match

Great with red meats, especially lamb or sirloin steak, flavoured with Southern French herbs (rosemary, thyme) or hearty casseroles.