Rall ‘AVA’ is one of the great modern-day South African Syrahs, sourced from a 21 year old pure schist site in the Swartland. A labour of love, in Donovan’s words, he says that it is the “extremities of this site that make the wine.” Painfully low yields of 670kg from 2.4HA of vineyard would have most accountants scratching their head, but “when you taste the wine it all makes sense.” Aged entirely in used barriques, this AVA vintage is savoury in style, unfurling with complex notes of Rooibos tea and red currant, angostura bitters, liquorice, blood orange and black cherry. It is layered with sweet velvety tannins and a sense of inner energy; arguably the finest AVA to date.
Editor’s rating: 96/100.
“This is the third official release of the Ava Syrah – Donovan Rall also made a 2016, but it has yet to see the light of a retail shop – and it has all the perfume and intensity of its predecessors. Very much a schist-derived style, it has violet and black pepper aromas, savoury tannins and youthful vigour and freshness. A world-class red. 2023-29”
Tim Atkin, 96 points
Platter: 5 Stars