Gravel HillShiraz 2012
Over the past thirty years, from a poor parcel of dry, gravelly soil, a veritable giant in the wine world has grown. Hartenberg was one of the first South African estates to separately vinify grapes from a particular terroir. Wine from the small and highly unusual “gravel hill” was first bottled in 1978 under the “Montagne” label. Winemaker Carl Schultz arrived at the farm in 1993 and soon agreed that “The Gravel Hill” site was special, with wine from its grapes different to that from other parts of Hartenberg . The opportunity to showcase the site on its own arose after Carl was invited to join the Cape Winemakers Guild (CWG) a couple of years later. As a condition of membership, he had to produce a small quantity of wine for sale at the annual CWG Auction. Consequently, the 1995 vintage from the site was named and bottled for the first time as The Gravel Hill Shiraz. It was sold at the 1997 auction – the first of fourteen vintages to be sold at the CWG auction. Before becoming commercially available, accolades for the Gravel Hill already include the wine earning the highest price for any Shiraz at the 2007 CWG Auction and the second highest price for any wine at the auction ever. It is also the wine that has been auctioned at the CWG longest.
The core of the now phenomenal reputation of The Gravel Hill Shiraz is locked into the site's unique geology. On the surface, there appears to be very little soil. Instead a 40 cm thick covering of brown ferrous stone is undermined by a fine clay layer, stretching down a few metres.
As the winter rains dissipate and the soil dries out, the subsoil clay cracks, and water filters through the gravel and collects in the clay fissures, serving as the vines’ water reservoir. As the summer heat wanes and the winter rain arrives, the clay swells, pruning the roots buried inside it, thereby limiting the vigour of the vines.
- 2008 Gold Medal Syrah Du Monde 2013, 4½ stars Platter's SA Wine Guide, 94 points Tim Atkins MW
- 2007 4½ stars Platter's SA Wine Guide
- 2006 91 points Robert Parker, 92 points Wine Spectator, 4.5 stars Platter's SA Wine Guide, 5 stars Vic Harrington (Canada), 94 points Wine Pioneers (USA), 4 ½ stars Platter's SA Wine Guide
- 2005 92 points Wine Spectator, 4 ½ stars Platter's SA Wine Guide
- 2004 93 points Wine Spectator, 4 ½ stars Platter's SA Wine Guide
- 2003 92 points Wine Spectator
- Production: 550 bottles (413 litres)
- Barrel Ageing: 18 months in 100% new French Allier Oak (225l)
- Maturation: Up to 20 years from vintage
- Alcohol: 14.90% by volume
- Residual Sugar: 2.1 g/l
- Total Acid: 5.9 g/l
- pH: 3.5
Fillet of Kudu with red wine jus, rare roast sirloin, wild mushroom risotto.
An iron fist in velvet glove, Hartenberg's flagship red, previously only available at the Cape Winemakers Guild Auction. A dark centered, black-red and ruby rim. Elegant, black fruit with violets, cloves, smokiness and black pepper on the bouquet. The palate shows sweet ripe fruit, spicy oak, elegance and rich, dry tannins made for the long haul. The palate ends with a lingering, savoury finish.
“Ripe and dense, but nicely refined, with stylish Kona coffee and mulled currant and loganberry fruit notes laced with melted licorice snap and spice. Liberally toasted, but integrated on the long, smoldering finish.” James Molesworth