Sijnn Red Blend 2017

Olivedale Mysteries of Nature Roobernet

HANSCORE: 21.5/25

Sijnn Wines are supremely pedigreed on paper. But paper doesn’t always tell the full story.
The Sijnn Estate was founded in the early 2000s by architect-turned winemaking legend David Trafford. The vineyards were presciently planted with Portuguese and Spanish cultivars that, almost 20 years later, are trending harder than Dua Lipa in an Anti-Vaxx Tee. Thanks to concerns over climate change and a consumer shift away from the so-called international varieties, Trafford’s decision to plant grapes like Tempranillo (which fortuitously turned out to be Trincadeira), Monastrell (which they refer to as Mourvedre) and eventually Verdelho, Vermentino, Barbera and Grenache Perluda makes them an enormously exciting outfit to watch.
There is also a sizeable chunk of Syrah, and some Cabernet Sauvignon.
BUT (and this is a Nicky Minaj level ‘but’) as pedigreed as it is on paper – the place itself; the vineyards and setting, are so extraordinary that no amount of pedigree or penned pontification can adequately express the impression it makes.
🗺 As an estate, Sijnn is part of the Agulhas Wine Triangle; a group of estates from Elim, Napier, Swellendam, Agulhas and Malgas. But while the best wines coming out of the Agulhas Wine Triangle are traditionally Sauvignon Blanc-led, or Rhone style reds, the wines of Sijnn break that mould. In part due its unique cultivar mix, but more prominently due to its comprehensively singular terroir. To accentuate this distinction, it’s worth noting that Sijnn is currently something of a monopole; the sole producer to label their wines as “wine of origin Malgas”.

🪨 The level of stony desolation makes the Fortress of Solitude feel like the frozen aisle at Woolworths. Of course, I firmly believe that great wines should tell the story of the place from which they hail, but not even Sijnn’s red blend, as magnificent as it is, comes close to expressing this.
And yet, given that the drive out to the estate is a formidable three hours from Cape Town, perhaps a bottle of the Sijnn Red 2017 is as close as you’ll get to experiencing the majesty of the place. So let’s start there.
🍷 Produced by already-lofty-but-still-rising-star, Charla Haasbroek, the 2017 red blend is comprised of two thirds Syrah, supported by 14% Monastrell, 11% Touriga Nacional, and 8% Trincadeira.
👁  Interestingly, for wine lovers who truly appreciate the visual quality of a wine, the Trincadeira component is positively neon in the glass. Charla warns us that she’s grown rather fond of it, and that the 2021 vintage may see Trincadeira come more to the fore in Sijnn’s reds. But back to the 2017.
👃🏼The nose is every bit as bulbous as the colour suggests. Like Dipardieu had a love child with an Elephant shrew. Lovely open black plum, cocoa, blackberry, anise, fennel, and an undeniably salty black olive note.
👄 The palate is impressively concentrated with pristine blackberry fruit layered over the more savoury black olive elements from the vanguard. The 22 months worth of barrel maturation show up in the form of gentle nutmeg and clove elements. The tail end exhibits some grippy tannins and a lingering note of salted cherry skins.
🧐 “What’s that?” I hear you ask. You’ve never salted a cherry skin? What on earth did you do with your childhood?
The lengthy tail end is a suitable ending to a worthy dispay.
For cellar-philes, who love laying wines down and walking away, you may be disappointed to learn that this is drinking really well right now. But perhaps it will comfort you to know that the concentration, juicy cherry acidity, and tight tannins hint at solid ageability.
🔬 The barrel regime is interesting in that the wine spends the first 12 months in 225-litre barrels (20% new) and is then transferred to more minimum-security-style 700-litre barrels for the remainder of its incarceration.

Very excited to see how future vintages evolve to incorporate larger components of Sijnn’s slightly more niche vineyards.

💸💸 ZAR410.00 (as of July 2021)
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