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.
Historically in South Africa, Cinsault was used to soften the tannins on red blends and also to increase yields in easy-drinking table wines. For this reason, we are blessed with fantastic older Cinsault vines in the Cape.
Seriously Cool Cinsault is produced from over 30-35 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 sandstone (with medium-sized stones) origin, as well as sandy, helping with drainage and moisture retention. Production was approximately 4t/ha.
A GENTLE HAND
Picking dates are determined by tasting in the vineyard – working our way back from knowing what type of wine we would like to make, and then looking for those required flavours in the grapes.
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 by foot, twice daily, 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, dependant on taste. ‘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 about 12 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 – 2018/19 GROWING SEASON
For the past 4 years, the Western Cape has been experiencing a severe drought. During winter of 2019, we did welcome more rain than in the previous two years and were very blessed to receive over 500mm.
Budburst and flowering were earlier than usual, starting with the first buds at the beginning of September. Towards the end of the flowering season there was some rain, but fruit set was luckily still even.
The remainder of the growing season was ideal, with enough sunlight and not too much rain – which could lead to mildew. At the end of January, the south easterly wind did howl through the property, which led to a lot of leaf loss and even that of some grape bunches. Not much could be done to mitigate this, except to spend more time in the vineyards and divide the blocks into different sectors in preparation for harvest. We first removed fruit in risk of sunburn and monitored each block very closely.
Our 2020 harvest commenced on the 29th of January and reached full intensity from the 5th of February. The harvest conditions were positive with enough sun, not too much rain and only a few very hot days. The whites came in over a period of about 2 weeks, with the reds following immediately after – this made harvest logistics a little easier. All harvest dates were determined by taste in the vineyard, waiting to achieve the ideal balance between phenolic ripeness, potential alcohol and acid. In terms of yield, there was some variation but overall, we saw an increase of approximately 10% on 2019.
A TASTING NOTE FROM THE GLASS OF NADIA LANGENEGGER
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 slopes. 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, vibrant and lively wine. It is playful in its aromas with loads of red berries, pronounced florals and perfume notes. In the mouth, the prominent fruit aromatics are complemented by soft tannins, fresh acidity that develop effortlessly.
This wine can be enjoyed on its own, but also pairs well with a variety of dishes, especially duck or a pork-belly inspired dish.
THE NUMBERS (11 600 BOTTLES PRODUCED)
Alc: 12.5 %
TA: 4.3 g/l