Honeysome Syrah and Hawksmoor steaks

This review of Porseleinberg Syrah 2017 is more than a #saveSAwine post but do remember there are over 27,000 jobs in the wine trade at risk thanks to prohibition in South Africa and by buying South African wine we can fuel wine exports and therefore #saveSAwine.

Much as with Ian Naudé’s Semillon 2016 in my previous review, this is a wine I have tried to review multiple times. In addition to the towering quality of this wine making me have too much fun, I blame steak for my failure to get a review online until now.

The first time I tried Porseleinberg Syrah 2017 was eight months ago on our first restaurant visit after months of frightening lockdown. We were at Hawksmoor Spitalfields.

Long-time readers will know there was a period when approximately 10% of posts on Elitistreview were about eating or drinking at Hawksmoor. The sheer joy of being back at our home away from home, the quality of the food and, most certainly, the quality of the wine made me just want to sit back and have a good time.

Then I purchased another bottle to try and review a few months ago under Lockdown 2.0. This time it was the heady brilliance of the wine and Turner and George steaks that made me so mirthful I committed fedifraction regarding reviewing that bottle of Porseleinberg Syrah.

I am now eating Hawksmoor steaks from the excellent online supermarket Ocado, who have recently started delivering these heavenly pieces of meat. However, this time I am bloody going to review the wine!

Before getting onto the review of Porseleinberg Syrah I must acquiet my desire for a diversion into the wonder of Hawksmoor steaks. Hawksmoor restaurants serve bleeding brilliant meat. It is fabulous and possibly, I do not like ranking things, peerless.

Whether the Hawksmoor steaks at Ocado are simply a product of the restaurants being unable to serve the steaks because they are closed during lockdown (so they go to Ocado), or if it is a long-term business move, I know not. The point is Ocado sell Hawksmoor steaks and we have two of them.

Hawksmoor ribeye steaks from OcadoHere they are!

Two 400g ribeyes. Are they not gorgeous? Wonderful marbling, good meat to fat ratio, generally delicious looking meat.

After years of fiddling about with different timing methods and so on, The Editor has learned how to cook ribeyes of correct thickness, by which I mean, thick ribeyes, until they are at the correct cookedness for these steaks: medium/rare. All it has taken him is the application of the temperature probe he gave me for Christmas – although I am sure any temperature probe will do (if it is accurate).

If you cook your ribeyes for an approximately equal period on both sides, on a sizzling hot grill pan, until your temperature probe registers 52°C in the centre of the steak. Easy, and it works a treat, here are the results:

Hector the pussy cat, Porseleinberg Syrah 2017 and a Hawksmoor steak from Ocado

Attractive meat (and an attractive pussy) but, since you cannot see the attractive bottle of attractive wine, let us – pausing only to say the Hawksmoor steaks are must buys if you shop at Ocado – get on to the review of Porseleinberg Syrah 2017!

Porseleinberg Syrah 2017Porseleinberg Syrah 2017, Callie Louw

This has closed up somewhat since I last tasted it. It has a touch of the beetroot character that Northern Rhône wines display after their first, fresh flush of youth.

However, what remains of that first flush is extremely pleasurable. Porseleinberg Syrah has plenty of black cherry fruit that bursts with rich, dark juice. It is decadently fruity, quite hedonistic in its overt delivery of real fulfillment.

This black cherry fruit grew with air, both on the nose and palate, and after a couple of hours my last glass was a veritable post-prom night in terms of burst and juice-dripping cherries. Absolutely delicious, and intertwined with comely floral aromas that gave the fruit plenty of dimension.

Dimension was also present in the form of herbal and spicy components on the Porseleinberg Syrah. The principle spice here is pepper – rich and warm, tingling with stimulation on the nose and palate, adding a real thrill of excitement.

I suppose people who have been to South Africa would describe the herbal characteristics here as fynbos, I have not so I cannot. The herbs I can identify on this Porseleinberg Syrah are thyme, rosemary and a hint of lavender. Very complex, most delightful.

There are earthy characteristics in the form of freshly dug Highland peat and I get distinct tones of granitic dust that whirl up your nose and dance down your throat as you swallow. The finish is of extraordinary length, with a brilliant salmagundi of all the flavours I give above held in a tight grip by the taut structure of this wine.

Just after opening the structure did seem a little tough, the tannins a touch gum-tanning, but as the Porseleinberg Syrah opened up they showed a move svelte, ripe side whilst remaining perfectly vibrant enough to ensure this wine will neither dry out into acrid tannin insipidity nor turn soupy and sickly.

The perfectly balanced acid level, which keeps the Porseleinberg vivacious, will help the Porseleinberg last and last. As a whole, the structure is a great support to the fruity, herbal, spicy and earthy flavours. It keeps everything conjunct in a pleasing collocate of winning personality.

Porseleinberg Syrah 2017 has just started its journey on what will be a long, but pleasure-slathered life, by arse it is good. It has everything you need where you need it to make this a sodding brilliant wine to own and impress your Syrah-loving friends for at least fifteen years. This is brilliant, just brilliant.


Trying this Porseleinberg recently, both (in the past) when open for action and last night when a touch closed, and the Rall Ava Syrah 2019 has given me two nigh-peerless young Syrah experiences. This is not least because both are squeaky clean with not the slightest hint of Brett to them. This is beyond magnificent.

Anyone who says the New World cannot produce world-walloping wines is unqualified to comment unless they have tried one of these. They are fantastic, amazing, stunning, nec plus ultra, the cat’s arse, and I feel bloody lucky to have tried them both.

Greg at Handford has some bottles left, or try Ben at VinoSA.

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