Kiara and I met over lunch. She has been eager for me to taste her latest release under the Mason Road Range; a 2020 Syrah. It’s the third release under their introductory label. It follows in the footsteps of the well-received Chenin Blanc and Serendipity Rosé. Both wines push the boundaries on the quality-versus-price ratio, and are regulars in my glass, and supported with notable listings in key establishments around Cape Town. They are those ‘go-to wines’ that fit any brief and are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

Kiara seemed a little anxious with this release, and rightly so, a Syrah with a recommended retail price of R110, a 2020 vintage released in the same year, from juvenile vines, I was also a little apprehensive. But boy my concerns dissipated as I was seduced on the nose. It seems this young lady can do no wrong.

An alluring perfume bloomed from the glass, and certainly not what I’d anticipate from such a young wine. A perception of elegance was immediately obvious, and more old-world charm than new. Notes of charcoal, faint liquorice part, making way for blueberries, cassis with nuances of sweet dried marjoram leaves and a dusty white pepper. The juicy dark fruit follows through with a soft and sultry entry on the palate, supple tannins and an old-world texture. An additional spicy earthy element develops and the wine finishes with an impressive length and a bright but not brash acidity.

Price, vintage, age of vines aside; this is a wonderfully made, smart wine. It reminds me of a top-notch ‘vin de table’ in France; it ticks all the boxes, you don’t tire of it, and most importantly- everyone loves it.

I recall Bruwer Raats challenging the perception that you need old vines to make good wine. If the vines are planted correctly, ‘quality by design’ then they can produce seriously impressive wines.

Kiara, you can be very proud. If this is your entry-level Syrah, I can’t wait to taste your premium release over the next couple of years. You’ve set yourself an ambitious task to take this to the next level!

With Kiara at the helm, the future of South African wine is a very promising and exciting one.