Graham Beck's passion for Shiraz and Viognier

Monday, 15 November, 2004
Graham Beck Wines
Graham Beck Wines has released two new wines on the local market to reflect the passion its winemaker’s have for the varieties of the Rhone Valley in France. The new wines in the Graham Beck portfolio are The Joshua 2002, a blend of Shiraz and Viognier, and the single varietal Viognier 2004.

According to Jacques Roux, the winery's director of marketing and sales, the wines are a result of Graham's personal love of the wine of France's  Rhone-region. "A Shiraz/Viognier blend, in the style of the Côte-Rôtie, has always been on the cards, especially after Charles Hopkins, our cellar master in Franschhoek, returned from a trip there in 1999.  He started experimenting with blends but it is the quality of the 2002 vintage that enabled us to release this wine" says Roux.  "We now also have the right fruit to produce a top-end version of this blend and we trust it will be a worthy addition to the ever increasing profile of South African reds."

The Joshua, a blend of 93% Shiraz and 7% Viognier, is made from two vineyards in Franschhoek specially selected for the style of wine. The Viognier ripens earlier than Shiraz and was left on the vine for around twelve days before picking on the 20th  and 21st  of March 2002 with the Shiraz. The Shiraz was picked at 25°balling with the Viognier at 27°balling.

The grapes were crushed together and inoculated in stainless steel tanks. Skin contact was achieved through aerated pump overs 3 times a day. The wine underwent malolactic fermentation, was racked and then matured in 2nd  fill French Oak for 13 months.

According to Hopkins, The Joshua reveals spiciness, hints of violets and liquorice flavours, and is a good accompaniment to rich venison, game bird dishes, Karoo lamb and rare roast beef.

Cellar door price is R135.00 a bottle, VAT included.

The grapes for the Viognier 2004 were harvested from three and seven year old vineyards in Robertson and Franschhoek respectively at between 24.5 and 28.5°balling. The same technique was followed at both cellars, where 40% of the blend was fermented in French Oak and the other 60% in stainless steel tanks.  Some 30% of the total blend went through malolactic fermentation.

Further maturation followed in 2nd  fill French Oak for 4 months, after which the wine was bottled at Graham Beck's Franschhoek cellar. "This wine is a joint effort between the two cellars, allowing Charles and Pieter Ferreira, the winery's Robertson cellar master to produce a multi-dimensioned Viognier" Roux says.

Ferreira feels that the combination of grapes from Robertson and Franschhoek makes this a complex Viognier which is also deceptively fresh and easy drinking. "With a soft golden green colour, a fragrant nose of ripe golden apples and spicy citrus flavours, this is a full-bodied white wine with a broad structure on the palate and an elegant, stylish finish.

"Although my colleague in Robertson, Pieter Ferreira is the foodie, I would suggest this wine be served slightly chilled with interesting seafood dishes like prawns, crab and mussels or with Thai and Chinese foods" Charles says.

Cellar price is R59 a bottle, VAT included.