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Two recent competitions put Shiraz, or Syrah, in the spotlight:

Boschkloof Syrah 2013 from Stellenbosch may have only been a Shiraz SA Wine Challenge finalist in 2015, but at R155 it’s my go-to wine for a classic Stellenbosch Syrah that finishes dry. This Syrah’s 2010, 2011 and 2012 vintages were previous Challenge winners. Reenen Borman barrel-matures the wine for 14 months, using 10% new oak. www.boschkloofwines.com

boschkloof_syrah.jpg Driehoek Shiraz 2012 If you want to try something different, it doesn’t get more remote than Shiraz vines growing at over 1000-metre altitude on the oldest farm in the Cederberg. Neighbour David Nieuwoudt makes this fruity, spicy-prune Shiraz SA Wine Challenge winner, R175. Nieuwoudt’s elegant Cederberg Shiraz is also one of the 12 winning wines this year. www.cybercellar.com

Eagles’ Nest 2012 My most exciting Shiraz Challenge winners in 2015 were wines grown at higher altitude, where grapes can hang longer without becoming overripe. Full of dark berry richness, this elegant wine is grown on an incline below Constantia Nek. My special-occasion choice at R225. eaglesnest.com

en_shiraz.jpg Fleur du Cap Bergkelder Selection Shiraz 2013 is from predominantly cool vineyards in the Cape Agulhas area. At the 2015 Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show competition, this wine won trophies for Best Shiraz and Best Red Wine Overall. At R79 it’s a no-brainer. Shiraz is on the up in South Africa, with more vines being planted than pulled out. The Bergkelder, 021-809-8025.

Strandveld First Sighting Shiraz 2012 wears the best-value price tag of the 12 Shiraz SA Wine Challenge winners in 2015. At R75, a juicy mouthful of Elim flavour shines through, thanks to only 20 to 30% new oak. This ‘less is more’ approach to oak is catching on. It’s also half the price of the winery’s flagship Strandveld Syrah. www.getwine.co.za

TASTE FOR YOURSELF:
Attend the annual Shiraz Showcase on 18 June 2015 (6pm to 9pm) at Cape Town International Convention Centre. Find some of South Africa’s best Shiraz labels and Shiraz blends, including the 12 winners of the 2015 Shiraz SA Wine Challenge. Contact Sandra Lotz at 082-924-7254. Tickets R120 webtickets

A version of this appeared in The Times on 3 June 2015