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The wines of The Foundry, Stellenbosch, South Africa

The Foundry was established in 2000 (first vintage 2001) as a joint venture between winemaker Chris Williams (right) and James Ried. Chris is the winemaker at Meerlust (he started there in 2004), where the wines are now made. Chris says that he is allowed to make a 1000 cases a year under his present contract; he’s aware that his shelf-life at Meerlust is limited, and he wants to step into something that is already viable when he leaves.

Is it profitable? It took him four years to recover the money that went into it, and he now makes some pocket money from it. ‘I don’t feel I have to make Meerlust in my own image’, says Chris, ‘because I have this’.

For me, the Syrah is one of the standard bearers for this variety in South Africa. It’s a serious wine. The Viognier comes from Wellington, where the vineyards are rented and managed by the Foundry. ‘I’m too poor to buy my own vineyards’, says Chris.

The Foundry Viognier 2006
Very fresh, aromatic nose is quite perfumed, with flowery, gently peachy fruit. The palate has a nice fresh texture with rich, grapey, peachy fruit plus some good acidity and a bit of vanilla. There is subtle oak influence. Sophisticated, with real personality. 92/100

The Foundry Syrah 2003
Lovely refined fresh, dark fruits nose. Sophisticated with a nice spicy character. The palate is tight with lovely dark fruits. Ripe but with great definition and a nice minerally edge. 92/100

The Foundry Syrah 2004
’Personally, this is the style I prefer’, says Chris Williams. Lovely dark fruits nose with fantastic freshness and purity, along with a nice dark peppery character. The palate is fresh and full with lovely elegant dark fruits and great definition. 94/100 

see also: extended tasting note on The Foundry Syrah; South African wine

Wines tasted 10/07  
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