At the time, it was not (to me) an immediately obvious combination - Syrah (re-named Shiraz in the New World) produces mineral and tannic wines in its spiritual home of Hermitage in the northern Rhône, whilst Viognier (also originally from the Rhône) is something of a peachy, apricotty Chardonnay wannbee - but somehow it works, the two going together "like carrots and peas", according to the Naked Wines website.
This South African example from the Robertson Valley is the second wine I have tried from Naked and I was very impressed with the first - a Pfalz Riesling, reviewed here - so expectations were high for this one.
On the nose there are the typical Syrah/Shiraz aromas of blackberry, damson and plum, with hints of liquorice and pencil shavings, plus some vanilla from oak-aging.
The palate shows more fruit, some peppery spice and hints of coffee and chocolate with a wonderfully smooth texture and good length - as with the previous wine from Naked, it feels extremely well-made and balanced.
It is almost too easy to enjoy, but whilst there is some noticeable "new-world" style ripeness here, there's enough of a contrast from the toasty oak, coffee notes and smooth tannins to make it balanced, complex and "grown-up".
We could easily have finished the bottle off in an evening, but in the interests of seeing it develop, we re-corked and sampled the remainder over two more days. On days two and three, it was increasingly fuller, more complex and nuanced, with less of the obviously crowd-pleasing fruit and more of the interesting savoury aromas.
Based on that, I would happily lay this down for at least a year and expect something even more impressive to emerge.
£9.99 / £6.66 for Angels - provided for review.
For more details on Naked Wines' "Angels" scheme - see this summary from US blogger Arnold Waldstein, here.
For a review of a more recent vintage, see Old Parn's review here, but don't say I didn't warn you.
Naked Wines - http://www.nakedwines.com/
Arabella Wines - http://www.arabellawines.com/
Arnold Waldstein - http://arnoldwaldstein.com/
Old Parn - http://oldparn.com/