Seven Barrels of Easy Fun from Richard Kershaw

Shiraz – or Syrah – moments are when warmth, comfort and simple pleasures are required. Never a challenging wine, Shiraz is lovable due to its simple, cuddly precociousness and its almost slut-like pursuit for attention. It pleases easily, and there are those times when Shiraz hits the parts other wines are unable to find.

The past few days have had me looking for instant gratification of the reassuring kind. It must have something to do with the nip in the air, the 13kg mussel-cracker I lost at my feet whilst fishing at Agulhas or my Dachshund Knoffel who had his scrotum ripped by a teacup Yorkie called Phoebe. Bitch.

Retail therapy will do, so I dropped some cash at the Wade Bales Wine Society for a case of wine made from the grape guaranteed to ensure fulfilment and goodwill – Shiraz. Although about Knoffel’s ball-sack, it ain’t doing nothing.


The wine was a Syrah. Richard Kershaw, the Elgin Superstar, is the creator. And only seven barrels were made for Wade, whose generosity of spirit and kindness of heart saw the wine made available to customers.

R750 bucks for six bottles, and the wine was – unlike the bloody mussel-cracker – landed. Vintage: 2012.

I had tasted the standard Richard Kershaw Syrah at some wine gig, and remember being impressed at its refinement and lingering rapier of white rock and granite as it pierced through the black fruit and spice. Richard’s Wade Bales selection, however, was another animal.


Here we are talking depth and substance. The nose is all heady perfume, a dense wine smell with something sweet and just ever so funky, the kind of aromas that would make a Drakensberg Choir Boy drop a high C on graduation day. Onto the palate, and here the attack is teasing in its opulent, in-your-pocket fruit. There was candied black fig, wild bramble-berries from the Alaskan mountainside and a wild, feral thread of well-hung gemsbok biltong.

Later on, here on the mid-palate, the wine lay satisfyingly plush on the palate revealing a bit of mocha and a chunk of Zanzibar black pepper before finishing in a symphony of nectar and pomegranate.

I don’t know that the wine maker had in mind, but this isn’t a hold-back, let’s-draw-out-the-foreplay kind of wine. It is made to lie purple and black in a big glass, and for you to take big wet slurps, after which your sweet damp lips are wiped with a hairy wrist. Drink big, drink fast, enjoy.


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One thought on “Seven Barrels of Easy Fun from Richard Kershaw

  1. A good (chef) friend calls Shiraz a “soil slut” because it grows in almost any soil, but I agree Shiraz is always generous and outgoing and willing to go all the way to satisfy (her) customers.

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