"Bright crimson with distinct ruby colour. A freshness and complexity on the nose with elderberries violets, liquorice and spice. Beautifully layered red fruits on the palate as well as an unfolding texture of structure elegance and finesse."
"The Fable Mountain Vineyards Syrah represents the finest expression of Syrah from the Estate. The philosophy behind the wine is focused on achieving the highest expression of this very unique place and site. In order to accomplish this our vineyards are biodynamically grown in accordance with agro- ecological principles. At harvest time the grapes are very carefully and precisely monitored in the vineyard for optimal physiological ripeness and picked in tiny sections of 400kg each.The fermentation takes place in 500L open top barrels and starts spontaneously with a flora of indigenous yeasts from the vineyard. The temperatures are kept in check and not allowed to exceed 30 Celsius; this ensures freshness and structure as well as longevity of the final wine. Around 30% whole clusters are added to the fermentation to give the wine added structure. The ferment usually lasts about 7-10 day and once complete the wine stays on skins for up to another 4-6 weeks and is tasted regularly for the desired textural results. Once the tannins have softened the wine is gently drained down and pressed off through our small basket press into 500L barrels for maturation. Here a portion is also stirred on its lees.The wine then finishes the malolactic fermentation in barrel and is racked once after a year and blended and bottled after 18-24 months. The result is that our Syrah shows qualities of finesse and layered concentration, and will age gracefully. 14.69% alc."
"94 pts. ... The 2011 Syrah comes from the Tulbagh estate and sees eight to 24 months in 500-liter French oak of which one-third is new. The first word that springs to mind on the nose is "Clape" - a Cornas doppelganger that has wonderful definition. The palate is very intense and minerally, with layers of ripe blackberry, cassis and white pepper and enormous structure on the salted licorice finish that manages to maintain finesse. This is one of the best South African Syrah that I tasted during my tasting - bravo."
Though I did not have time to visit Fable Mountain Vineyards, I did have a chance to meet Australian-born winemaker Rebecca Tanner and viticulturalist Paul Nicholls when I spent an evening in Tulbagh. It is owned by former managing partner of Screaming Eagle, Charles Banks, who in 2010 acquired both Mulderbosch and Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards, renaming the latter. Under its previous monicker, it was a winery that was heading toward greatness under Chris and Andrea Mullineux. But following their departure it lost its way rather and the wines dipped in quality. I did not have any particular expectations when I revisited the FMV wines, although my eye did catch the beautifully designed label. "It would be nice if the contents were as attractive," I thought to myself. And you know what? They were. What I found inside the bottle was actually some of the best South African wine I tasted during my trip. Perhaps it is Charles Banks's magic touch? More likely it is the talent of Rebacca and Paul. What is not under question is that from their 32 hectares on the slopes of the Witzenberg mountains and via their organic/biodynamic methods (observed rather than dogmatically followed to the last letter) in the gravity-fed winery, they are making some really quite superlative wines with abundant purity, personality and charm. Let's hope prices will not reach the stratospheric heights of Screaming Eagle! In the meantime, do check out these latest releases.