Stunning value Syrah

The Foundry Syrah 2007 continues my #saveSAwine series of articles. Prohibition in South Africa may be (partially and temporarily) lifted, but there are still over 640 million litres of largely unsold wine in storage with a new vintage coming in as I type – there is hardly anywhere to put the new wine!

The 20 weeks of prohibition in the last 12 months have cost the industry over R6 billon (US$400 million) in direct sales alone. We can drive exports by buying South African to help #saveSAwine.

With this The Foundry Syrah 2007 I have the rare treat of trying a South African Syrah that should be mature. It was a kind gift from my lovely, cuddly friend Keith. This means I have a perfect opportunity to criticise it and accuse him of having poor taste! Ha ha!

This is, of course, complete nonsense. No matter where I get a wine from, who paid for it, who carried it around the world for me, I always approach each wine with an open mind and try to assess it as objectively as possible based on its merits.

The Editor and I try to assess wine in the way it is meant to be drunk – in company and, usually, with a meal. People do not drink wines in tiny sips in tasting rooms; wine is part of the furniture of a convivial household or restaurant.

Back to The Foundry Syrah. This wine is an absolute bargain when it is released; less than twenty coins. They make excellent Grenache Blanc and Roussanne (both of which I have tried – lovely wines to buy to #saveSAwine) and also Grenache Noir and Viognier (that I have not tried so can pass no judgement on their quality).

Keith insists that this affordable wine can hold its head up high and age as well as the best in the world of Syrah – I am intrigued! The Foundry Roussanne and Grenache Blanc certainly punch far above what their cost would suggest. Since this is so affordable it would be great if it were a wine capable of maturing for so long; a keenly priced wine with which to help #saveSAwine and possibly keep you happy for a many a year…

Let us find out!

The Foundry Syrah 2007

Syrah 2007, The Foundry

The Foundry Syrah 2007 does not smell at all like a mature Northern Rhône wine but very much what I would expect a mature South African Syrah of high quality to smell like. Good! This means it is clean (none of that foul Brett), has good, cherry-driven fruit and a peppery spiciness that exudes vivacity.

The cherry fruit is a bit more muted than on a young Syrah, but it is mixed with a complex and pleasing earthiness that is clearly a product of a favoured vineyard site and bottle age. It is delicious, mature but still perfectly lively.

The spiciness is more peppery than on Northern Rhône Syrahs and it very attractive. It marries with the sweetness and warmth from the fruit and alcohol and gives the nose a satisfyingly involute roundness. It is not exactly hot and plush, just remarkably well-titted out for its age.

The palate is more structured than those nice poonts on the nose would suggest. The Foundry Syrah has bags and bags of life in that structure. The tannins are softening but have rigour, and there is good acidity too. You decide if you want confident structure or big bouncers on the palate.

There is plenty of pepper and spice-cupboard warmth as well. The warmth does not appear to be related to high alcohol but to the richly spiced characteristics of it. That is rather good.

The soft fruit has not held up as well as the structure and spice that frame the palate. It is not too dry, but I would like a hint more of that cherry fruit that is on the nose to be present on the palate.

However, I am being really picky with this The Foundry Syrah, for a wine that would have cost about £12 when it was released it is in remarkably good shape and is most enjoyable. If you are positively averse to fruit bombs and like your wines to taste mature, you would get a good dose of titillation from this.

It is long, there is a good melange of spicy, fruity, earthy flavours that swirl around on your palate as you swallow. This is very nice. Very, very nice if you consider the price. It has aged into a quite comely wine and both The Editor and I are enjoying this with our dinner (it is terribly rude of me to type whilst we are eating, but these tasting notes are often ‘stream of conversation’-entities).

The Editor and I agree that this is very good and has aged well, but Keith’s claim that it can compete with the best of the Northern Rhône is not quite true in terms of absolute quality.

However, if you consider how much The Foundry Syrah costs when young, even how much this mature (but certainly not fading) bottle cost, there is not a Northern Rhône wine that can touch it in terms of bang for buck. I like my bangs lusty, lubricious and lascivious, and this is vastly more exciting than a than a quick one off the wrist for a fiver in Ipswich.

Worry not if you buy a case and cannot finish it off quickly, this bottle shows it will still be lively over a decade later, lively and most enjoyable. I am pleased I have another bottle and I will be in no rush to drink it!

Sorry, Keith, not the best Syrah in the world, but The Foundry Syrah is undoubtedly the best quality for price Syrah I think I have ever tried. Hooray!

#saveSAwine at VinoSA.