Sam said to me that “all palettes are fallible” and so parallel to this, the 22 y/o winemaker from Stellenbosch has chosen to place authenticity at the centre of his winemaking. He has an immense appreciation of the greats and much like any successful vintner, has tasted a shit ton of wines. However, he believes in minimal intervention and letting the fruit just doing it’s thing. You won’t find any tasting notes on his website for the first Minimalist Wines’ vintage, Stars in the Dark 2018.
“…This is true of every vintner great, good, or poor. This may seem abstruse to the ‘consumer’ but there are many ways to consume and many things to be consumed in a glass of wine. You can see it merely as an object and assess it against its competitors using some arbitrary scale. Or you can drink something that tells you it was made by human beings who want to show you the beauty and meaning they have found in their lives. You decide.”
― Terry Theise, Reading between the Wines
The winemaker’s obsession with the Northern Rhone is not lost in his South African creation. In the thick of a warm climate with dense jammy Syrah’s left right and centre, Stars in the dark is definitely an exception. Savoury notes of bacon, olives, thyme & smoked spices are indisputably typical Cote Rotie notes that you will find with Stars In The Dark. Suitably accompanied by bright acidity and red fruit which makes this one of the most elegant and lighter Syrahs I’ve enjoyed from South Africa. It is layered with intensity and, much to the winemaker’s disappointment, ever so slight hints of sweet cooked plums. Elim is uniquely South African but reaps all the benefits of the Atlantic coastal breeze. This Syrah is a lush, light tannin wine. It’s complex and it’s easy to finish a bottle. Chill it to 16 in my opinion. I will most definitely be keeping my second bottle for years to come but this is a wine that has only gotten me more excited for new wave wines coming from this epic, wine obsessed society within the Cape.
Drinking beautifully now but keep for an even more elegant savoury experience.