IT’S REALLY ALL ABOUT THE VINEYARDS
Cinsault vines have been grown for centuries in Southern France. 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. Today this proudly South African varietal is known as Pinotage.
Seriously Cool Cinsault is produced from more than 35-year-old bush vines on the outskirts of Stellenbosch. 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 as well as sandstone 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 carefully sorted and via gravity, placed in our wooden fermenters.
Alcoholic fermentation starts spontaneously inside the berry from the naturally occurring yeast. After approximately 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 8 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- 2017/18 GROWING SEASON
The Cape experienced a very dry growing season from the end of the 2017 harvest and also during the beginning of 2018. The 2017 winter was not exceptionally cold but still colder than the last 3 years, which helped to ensure an even bud burst. The rainfall was the lowest that we have experienced in the last 10 years on the farm.
Since the winter was not very col, bud burst started earlier than usual. We could see some of the first buds appear early in September. From thereon the vines were struggling a bit to grow due to the dry condition and veraison only took place in early January. The dam levels were also low and we were only able to irrigate the younger blocks. The best practice was to always have a complete weed-free vineyard to prevent excessive water usage and to limit stress on the vine by suckering if needed- sometimes this also happens naturally.
In early January we did receive rain and also a bit in early February. This was the saving grace for our vines to help them ripen the fruit more evenly. During this time, we did not see excessive heat spikes and had lovely cool evenings, which helped to have a longer growing season and have all the flavours develop over a longer period.
Harvest started about 10 days later than in 2017. We saw a decrease in berry size on some blocks. Fortunately, little to no rot was noticed on the grapes, which helped to have a stress-free sorting table. Overall, we are more than happy with the quality of the 2018 harvest.
A TASTING NOTE FROM THE GLASS OF NADIA BARNARD
Our Cinsault is known as COOL because we recommend that you enjoy it at a lower temperature (around 14°C) and because it stems from the cooler False Bay region. We also describe it as SERIOUS because it ensures a well-structured, memorable length in the mouth.
The old bush vines gave rise to a soft, balanced tannin structure and elevated length. This wine is playful in its aromas with pronounced floral and perfume notes, backed by a savoury undertone. I enjoy going back to my glass to appreciate the complexity. In the mouth the prominent fruit aromatics are complemented by soft tannins that develop effortlessly.
This wine can be enjoyed on its own but also pairs well with a variety of dishes, especially with pigeon.
THE NUMBERS (18 366 BOTTLES PRODUCED)
Alc: 11.5 %
TA: 4.1 g/l