Shannon Vineyards is a name to watch out for!

Date posted:
August 4, 2010

Shannon Vineyards is situated in the Elgin Valley within the Kogelberg Biosphere with mountains on its western boundary and the Palmiet River forming the eastern boundary.


The Elgin Valley, which has long been regarded as the apple and pear centre of South Africa, now has some of the country's most highly regarded winemakers establishing vineyards in the area, testament to its obvious winemaking potential.


“We focus on viticulture principles in order to reflect our commitment to winemaking as an expression of terroir,” says James Downes, co-owner with brother Stuart. “Technological surveys ensured that the correct grape variety, clone and rootstock combination was planted in the diverse ancient soil types.


"The vineyards benefit from the high altitude cool temperatures, as well as an abundant rainfall throughout the year and the prevailing cold summer wind, known as the 'Black South-Easter' blowing in from the ocean 12 kilometres away.


"Viticulture practices and canopy management which enhance longer ripening periods capture in the wines, the broad spectrum of flavours created in the cool climate of our unique terroir!”


Shannon Vineyards, a member of the Biodiversity Wine Initiative (BWI), has maintained the undisturbed virgin soil in 8 meter wide corridors of natural fynbos (native Cape flora) between the vineyards, providing the indigenous animals with territorial access from the river banks to the mountainside.




Caption: Shannon Pinot Noir Macushla 2009, just one of the outstanding wines from this new producer in the Elgin Valley.




Shannon Wines are produced from 12 different site specific vineyard blocks of pinot noir, 7 blocks of sauvignon blanc and a half hectare of Semillon, as well as the now "work in progress" viognier. The exciting Mount Bullet comes from the merlot vineyard consisting of 5 clones.


“We strive at Shannon Vineyards to produce wines of complexity and elegance. The name Shannon pays homage to our Irish ancestry. Our forefathers, the Shannon and Downes families, were from County Cork, Ireland. On the other side, the James family were wine merchants and former owners of the White Horse Pub (1882) in Parsons Green, the City Arms (in the City of London), the Rising Sun (Battersea) and the Marlborough (Chelsea).


Shannon Vineyards’ wines are summed up best by well-known wine writer Angela Lloyd: “Texture and structure is how James defines what they look for in their wines and both are in evidence throughout, as are gentleness and purity. The sauvignon is ‘textured’ by a portion of oaked semillon, but is harmoniously assimilated, giving the feeling of a perfect, polished whole.


“Pinot noir is as pinot should be, fragrant, fresh and silky, while the merlot - which has fooled many, even competent tasters, as to its varietal origins - will convert any Sideways fan with its multi-layered concentration and contrasting lightness of feel.


“But what sets them apart from so many others is that these wines are alive, they stimulate the taste buds and the intellect.”


Enough said!



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