Girl Next Door 2018 by Duncan Savage continues the trend of his wines getting better each year. There was nothing at all wrong with Girl Next Door 2017 (that I reviewed here), this vintage is simply better.
Just to recap. This wine comes from a 0.38-hectare vineyard planted with Syrah. The vines are under great stress from being lashed by Atlantic winds – this results in tiny yields of very high-quality grapes. High-quality grapes make high-quality wine!
Considering the rarity of this wine, its extreme quality and keen price, you should snap this up whenever you see it on sale. It provides far better value than top Northern Rhône Syrahs, whilst lacking nothing in terms of quality. I got my bottle from Handford Wines. They stock the full range of Duncan Savage wines.
Before moving onto the note, I must thank Todd Hamina for selling wine in an auction that Bill Mauger won to provide me with the last payment for me to get a hand job to fix my carpal tunnel syndrome. I would like to thank all those who made this possible. I got hand relief yesterday. I am typing today – WEHAY!
To the note!
I double decanted this wine an hour before drinking.
This has a highly attractive nose. It has delicious, refined, dark plum fruit – perfectly ripe with not a hint of stewed or jammy character.
There is also a perfume of flowers, deliciously fresh and inviting. The fruit and these floral aromas are powerfully combined with a strong peppery/spicy character that marks this out as a very fine Syrah.
Indeed, it reminds me of the mid-90s Clusel-Roch Grandes Places Côte-Rôtie I have been following the evolution of since purchase. If you are unaware of the wine, you philistine, it is one of the most subtle, elegant and complex Côte-Rôties, backed by the magic of old vines, one could buy back then. A beautiful wine of power and refinement.*
So, the basic message is that this is a nose of fabulous poise, harmony and refinement. It is also extremely attractive, and I want to drink it now!
Satan’s pants, this is pretty tannic, but that rigorous structure is interlaced with delicious, delicious dark plum and blackberry fruit. It is quite gorgeous.
It has a lot of spicy/peppery flavours, really a lot of them. One would not mistake this for another grape varietal! That pepper gives the palate incredible vibrancy and bite. The harmony is superb!
There is good acidity too, which assists in making this quite a fresh wine. It is all in such perfect alignment that I feel this will age for a very long time and improve with extended cellaring. It has the balance; it throbs with dimension and it is pant-bulgingly attractive. Throbbingly so.
The nearest old-world equivalent would be something like Clusel-Roch Grandes Places Côte-Rôtie; but of course this is not Côte-Rôtie, this is South African Syrah. The aspect of the wine is different. The pepper more pronounced, the dimensionality more imposing – it is spell-bindingly obvious that it tastes of so many different things – and the tannins a hint more rigorous. This is a great South African Syrah!
Girl Next Door 2018 is the best Syrah I’ve had in ages; it is stunning in the style of its elements and beautiful in their harmony. It is cheaper than Northern Rhône Syrah of comparable quality. I would buy this every time.
*I am not sure the current generation is making wine quite as beautifully as his parents did, but I shall have to age my few bottles for a while yet to discover this.