Sam Lambson is undoubtedly one of South Africa’s rising star producers and after only four vintages (2018 to 2021), has introduced another exciting single site Syrah to his growing range. The 2020 Minimalist Wines ‘Experimental’ Syrah was produced from this same Elgin vineyard but was made differently, showing a more accessible, crunchy, fresh, herbal fruity expression compared to this very fine, focused, cool fruited 2021 bottling that is greatly elevated in stature, joining Sam Lambson’s Stars In the Dark Syrah among his more premium range of wines.
The grapes all come from Niemandsrivier, a beautiful 3 hectare vineyard in Elgin that are leased from Johan and Milanie Vosloo and farmed by the Minimalist team themselves. Planted in 2006, the vineyard features three Syrah clones on a geographically complex mix of Sandstone and Shale soils and is the perfect canvas to produce fine premium Syrah wines. Vines located in the same block can react to their environment in unique ways, says Sam Lambson, and No Place Like Home is an exploration of the variation that exists within a single vineyard. Using a mix of drone technology (with a Near Infrared Camera flying 80m above the vineyard) and good, old-fashioned soil analysis, Sam and his team identified four distinct pockets across the 3 hectare parcel, then harvested and fermented them separately before marrying them together for this unique wine.
I met up with Sam in the UK in the Autumn of 2022 and was thrilled to taste this new, premium expression of Elgin Syrah. I was one of the first wine trade professionals to taste a barrel sample of his 2018 Stars in the Dark way back in late 2018 and knew from that moment that this was the beginning of a new exciting wine. When I tasted the maiden No Place Like Home 2021 Elgin Syrah with him in September 2022, I experienced a similar feeling and felt confident that this was also the beginning of something special. Track down an allocation now before the hype goes mainstream!
Minimalist Wines No Place Like Home Syrah 2021, WO Elgin, 13.5% Abv.
An alluring and instantly impressive classically styled wine aged in neutral 228 litre French oak barrels for 16 months, reveals complex aromatics of ripe black plum, boysenberry, potpourri, sweet black peppercorns with a hint of sweet grilled herbs and black berry reduction. The intensity and precision of this 2021 are notable and follow to an elegant, medium-bodied palate that coats the mouth with sumptuous, saline cassis fruit layers, sweet smoky black currant and subtle hints of kelp and oyster shell minerality. This is another delightfully vibrant expression that will seduce many Syrah obsessives, with its 20% whole bunch portion adding an extra little complexing sapidity on the long finish. Undoubtedly a wine that is going to cause a stir… but that is exactly what Sam Lambson has become famous for! Start chasing an allocation now and drink this beauty on release and over the next 6 to 10+ years.
(Wine Safari Score: 96/100 Greg Sherwood MW)