2022 Minimalist Wines, Stars in the Dark, Syrah

Western Cape,South Africa,

Original price was: £40.00.Current price is: £31.99.

Bottle size: 75cl,
  • GS-96
  • JR-17.5/20
  • NM-96

In stock

Vineyard: “Some of the best things in life emerge from tough times and dark places”. True in wine, as in life, this message appears on the bottle’s back label to reflects the resilience of the Syrah vines that grow in at the southern tip of Africa. Conditions are extreme on the harsh, exposed slopes of Cape Agulhas and, as always, we’re astonished and delighted by what nature delivers. The Blend: All the fruit was harvested from two cool climate, low-altitude Syrah parcels (50m above sea level), just 8km from the stark and blustery coast. Facing North West, one is 22 years old, planted on Clay and the other (23 years) on Koffieklip soils. As always, we let the sites do the talking, so the fruit was matured for 12 months in neutral 228L and 300L French Oak.

Category: SKU: hub-10331960-1-DP-STOCK-N


The Vintage:
An exceptional, cool late vintage. The growing season was off to a slow start with bud break two weeks later than normal. Strong canopy growth required careful management and several extra passes through the vines. A cool early growing season was broken by lengthy heat waves, before returning to cool fair weather in the lead up to harvest. The prevailing dry conditions allowed for extended hang time on the vines, contributing to plush ripe tannins and real flavour intensity.

We harvest in the cool, early hours of the morning, into 14kg Lug boxes and transport grapes back to the cellar in refrigerated trucks where they are allowed to cool overnight. After gentle foot-stomping and crushing (one third whole-bunch for this vintage), natural fermentation gets underway, at its own pace, in a combination of open and closed fermenters. Once complete, we macerate gently with a single, daily pumpover/punchdown.

Appellation: Cape Agulhas
Alcohol: 14.0%
Harvested: 28 March 2022
On skins: 14 days
Elevage: 12 months in 228L and 300L Neutral French Oak
Bottled: 19 April 2023

Additional information

Wine Type



South Africa


Western Cape




Minimalist Wines




Cape Agulhas

Bottle Size


Pack Size


Pack Type

Loose Bottles

Alcohol Percentage


Duty Status

Duty Paid



Rating Agencies

Greg Sherwood,, Neal Martin


Neal Martin 96

The 2022 Stars in the Dark comes from Cape Agulhas, stomped underfoot with one-third whole bunches, aged in 3rd and 4th fill French oak. The red fruit on the nose seems to "hug" the olfactory senses, very pure and beautifully delineated, an underlying mineralite gaining momentum with aeration. The medium-bodied palate has fine-grained tannins, extremely well-balanced with a precise, edgy finish, black pepper and black tea lingering temptingly. This continues Lambson’s strong run of form and comes highly recommended. [Neal Martin, 01/01/2023] 17.5/20

The Syrah comes from a vineyard with a pretty extreme climate (‘in the South African context’, winemaker Lambson says). The groundwater is saline and brackish and the vineyard is just five kilometres from sea. This has the smell of a wind blowing over rocks and dried herbs. I see exactly exactly what Lambson means by salt and pepper (and white pepper). It tastes of black cardamom and roses. This has such a beautiful moment-before-the-storm feel; an inner tension; a breathlessness; a sense of waiting. The tannins are long and have a flute-like mellifluousness, almost a sense a keening. Garrigue/fynbos perfume on the finish. (TC) [Jancis Robinson, 01/01/2023]

Greg Sherwood 96

From a hot early season which eventually cooled allowing grapes to be picked 3 weeks later than usual. With 33% whole bunch fruit employed, the wine is dense, dark and moderately broody with perhaps less transparency in its youth but still showing the undeniably delicious Agulhas saline maritime depth despite the extra notions of ripeness. Wonderfully complex, the aromatics are loaded with salty black plum, stewed strawberry compote, cured meats, white pepper and smoky sweet cherry tobacco hints. In the mouth there are layers of fleshy opulence while retaining its superb old-world Syrah Northern Rhone-styled elegance and classicism. Silky textured, cool and seductively black fruited, this comes across as a very accomplished wine with ample power, defined elegance and very impressive depth. I remain a massive fan of this wine! Drink now and over the next 10 to 12+ years. (96+/100 Greg Sherwood MW) [Greg Sherwood, 01/01/2023]

Producer Profile

“Frankly, I have encountered few South Africa wines with such delineation.” – Neal Martin of the 2019 Stars in the Dark Syrah. (97 Pts.)

Sam Lambson makes Syrah. Site-specific, South African Syrah. (And an Experimental Range including a white blend and Grenache Noir.) He has done so for five vintages now (2018 to 2022) under his Minimalist wine brand. Which, as the name suggests, infers minimal intervention in the cellar and, in recent years, has been celebrated for translating terroir straight into the glass “in all its unfettered glory,” as Neal Martin remarks. The three Minimalist Syrahs are from three of South Africa’s coolest (both literally and figuratively speaking) climate winemaking areas, and thus literal liquid gold from Agulhas, Elgin, and a blend of both and the Polkadraai. The resulting Syrahs are what makes South African Syrah one of their most exciting red grapes, and these wines most probably destined to become part of SA’s vinous legacy. Making us thankful for having been able to secure this allocation.