100 pts Tim Atkin MW 2020
In the right hands, great sites produce great wines. Since its inception in 2010, Porseleinberg has been one of the Cape’s most exciting reds, but nothing quite prepared me for the transcendent brilliance of this wine. Influenced by some time spent at Domaine Jamet in Cote Rotie – particularly their use of a submerged cap during fermentation – Callie Louw has made a stunning Syrah, proving his skills as both a farmer and a winemaker. In 2018, the style has shifted, away from power and grip to something more scented and refined. Focused, nuanced and very delicately oaked, with raspberry and wild strawberry fruit, clove and white pepper spice and textured tannins. Simply world class. 2023-35
97 pts Greg Sherwood MW March 2021
The 2018 vintage yielded some very supple, pretty, lithe Syrahs with delicacy, elegance and seamless textures. Well known for its power and structure, this Porseleinberg shows a lighter, finer, more accessible expression with delicately savoury velvety tannins and fleshy red and black berry fruits. Initially quite reticent on opening, the nose slowly unfurls with aromatics laced with grilled herbs, cured meats, black liquorice, black olive tapenade and chargrilled meat nuances. The wine is more mineral than floral at this youthful stage yet still shows a lovely precision, intensity of black berry fruit and well judged oak handling. There’s a lovely tenderness and complexity to the wine that reminds you of just what a very special schistous terroir lies behind the production of this world class Syrah. Drink from 2023 to 2034+
5 Stars 2021 Platter’s South African Wine Guide
Style unchanged, wholebunch fermented with submerged cap, 18 (95 pts) created in large oak (80%) & concrete ‘egg’. Syrah from a special site, older vines, giving distinctive wild berry tones, mineral earthiness & lithe succulence. Styled for decade-plus ageing, like 17.
95 pts Vinous April 2021
The 2018 Porseleinberg is 100% whole-bunch-fermented in concrete; this is the first vintage that winemaker Callie Louw submerged the cap. It has a complex bouquet of blackberry, melted tar, clove and light garrigue aromas, all beautifully defined and focused, constantly changing in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy black fruit, touches of white pepper on the entry and firm tannins. This is very Old World in style, leading to a very peppery finish that is slightly drier and more saturnine than previous vintages. While not the greatest Porseleinberg I have tasted, it is a testament to its high standards that it still ranks among the best wines of the vintage.
The revolutionary Porseleinberg project came about as a result of South African icon Marc Kent’s search for premium Rhône grapes for his Boekenhoutskloof and Chocolate Block labels. The journey naturally took him to the Swartland, which at that time was just emerging as a premium South African wine region. Kent found an ideal 173-acre wine farm atop the Porseleinberg mountain that he purchased in 2009. He quickly recognized the enormous potential of the area, and after replanting the vineyard to Syrah and Grenache, he decided to create a premium Swartland Syrah from the choice fruit. He brought in Callie Louw as the viticulturist and winemaker for the project. Louw is the quintessential farmer who finds himself most at home on the tractor or in the vineyard, and has proven himself to be a masterful winemaker.