In 2003, the Wraith family, originally from Gauteng, bought two adjacent farms which today make up Keermont Vineyards. Mark Wraith lives on the farm with his wife, Monica and their four children. Keermont Vineyards are situated high up in the Blaauwklippen Valley, otherwise known as Paradyskloof (paradise gorge). The Blaauwklippen River, which bisects the farm, is also the boundary between the Helderberg and the Stellenbosch Mountain Range. This means that some vineyards are on the warmer north-facing Helderberg slopes and others on the cooler west-facing Stellenbosch range. The altitude climbs 200m within the 1.7 km length of the farm and the vineyards are planted between 250m and 400m above sea level.
The mountainous terrain and differing soil types provide pockets of excellent and varied terroir. These pockets are separated by tracts of pristine mountain Fynbos and Renosterveld, endemic to the Western Cape as the Wraiths and their team believe all the natural vegetation encourages the accumulation of natural predators and deterrents to those organisms that may attack vineyards. They endeavour to use fewer chemical fertilisers and pesticides, and to irrigate as little as possible. Only grapes grown on Keermont Vineyards are used in the production of Keermont wines.
Keermont Syrah 2015 is a blend of three different Syrah vineyard sites growing on Keermont Vineyards, namely Steepside Syrah: growing on a north facing slope in deep, red clay-rich soils and generally producing powerful full bodied wines with rich, spicy flavours; Topside Syrah, an unirrigated west facing vineyard planted at 400m above sea level on rocky sandstone-based soil, which is usually a more aromatic wine with good structure and natural acid; and Sweetwater Syrah which is the coolest and latest ripening of the three sites – situated in a rocky valley below the Fleurfontein spring – and is normally lighter and elegant in style, with a herbal aroma. In certain vintages a small percentage of Mourvèdre from the Steepside Vineyard may be added in order to bring another aspect to the tannin structure of the wine.
Small parcels of grapes are specifically selected according to ripeness, harvested by hand and vinified separately. This process is carried out gently and naturally in open top fermenters using traditional methods only. This wine spent 20 months maturing in seasoned 500 and 225 litre French oak barrels before being bottled by hand without filtration.