It’s Really all about the Vineyards
Cinsault has been growing in Southern France for centuries. In the Rhône and Languedoc regions it is primarily used as a supporting agent in red blends, especially Châteauneuf-du- Pape, to add spice and aromatics whilst mellowing out harsh tannins.
But perhaps its most important role in wine history took place in South Africa, where in 1925 it was crossed with Pinot Noir by Stellenbosch University Professor A.I. Perold in an attempt to create a unique South African varietal, which today is known as Pinotage.
Seriously Cool Cinsault is produced from more than 40 year old bush vines on the cool slopes of the Helderberg region. Older vines are known to have reached optimal balance in growth and production through time. This allows for low yields and ripe fruit with intense flavours. The soils are of decomposed granite origin with medium-sized stones, helping with drainage and moisture retention. Production was approximately 4t/ha.
A Gentle Hand
We follow a traditional, minimalistic approach which means that we interfere as little as possible with the winemaking process. This allows the flavours prevalent in that specific vineyard to be expressed in the wine. To achieve this goal the whole bunches are sorted and via gravity, placed in our wooden fermenters trying to keep the berries. Alcoholic fermentation starts spontaneously inside the berry from the naturally occurring yeast. After around 3 days of this intracellular fermentation the grapes are punched down twice daily with feet to ensure that the berries are broken slowly and softly and not over extracted. The wine is kept on the skins for a minimum of 30 days. ‘Powered’ through gravity alone, the wine runs down to a tank below. The remaining berries, fall into the basket press where they are gently pressed. The soft pressing and the free-run are then placed together in second and third fill 600L French oak barrels to finish malolactic fermentation and the wine is then aged for 11 months. This wine expresses the grapes in their purest form and no fining agents were added. Only sulphur was added and no other additions, such as tartaric acid or enzymes were allowed.
And A Few Prayers To Mother Nature – 2014/15 Growing Season
The Stellenbosch area experienced a good winter with sufficient rain to fill the dams and provide enough cold units in July to have the vines in full dormancy. From August the temperatures started to rise slowly and spring arrived early with flowering occurring under ideal conditions. This ensured even ripeness, which contributed to excellent grape quality. We experienced slightly windy conditions during this stage, which led to looser bunches and helped to attain lower yields and more concentration.
Rainfall fell off dramatically from September with warm, dry weather and less strong wind than usual. Throughout the growing season, temperatures remained moderate, with intermittent hot days. Veraison started about 2 weeks earlier than usual.
For the rest of the growing season we saw little rain which resulted in very low disease pressure. Even though the days were warm, we noticed that the evenings cooled down very nicely.
The 2015 harvest was the earliest to date at Waterkloof. We started picking around 2 weeks earlier than usual due to the early spring but hang time was sufficient to allow phenolic ripeness. The quality of the fruit was exceptional; low pH, high acidity and clean fruit with little to no rot.
Tasting Notes from the Glass of Nadia Barnard
Our Cinsault is known as COOL because we recommend you to enjoy it at a lower temperature (around 14 C) and because it stems from the cooler Helderberg region. We also describe it as SERIOUS because it ensures a well-structured, memorable length in the mouth.
The old bush vines give rise to a soft balanced tannin line and elevated length. This wine is lively and not overtly fruity. A combination of blackcurrant, raspberries and spices, infused with mild earthy notes, can be appreciated on the nose. Soft tannins in the mouth are complemented by elegant fruit flavours. This wine can be adored on its own but also pairs well with a variety of different dishes, especially with pigeon.
The Numbers (12 760 bottles produced)
Alc: 12.5 %
TA: 4.3 g/l