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 – 2020/21 GROWING SEASON
South Africa’s Western Cape is privileged to have a vast array of soils and climates, all within a relatively small area.
This vintage dates back to the old normal, which is great. A cold, wet winter. Warm spring and summer, without excessively high temperatures. The famously ferocious winds of the Cape played their usual hand, naturally controlling yield and fungal disease such as mildew. Perfect. In 2021, we were picking everything at well over a hundred days from flowering. We saw very high acid levels during this vintage because of these cooler growing conditions. As with all years we had to spend a lot of time in the vineyards tasting to determine optimal ripeness and find a good balance.
We were happy to see slow ripening in the vineyards which always goes hand in hand with good quality.
The last vintage similar was the great 1997
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 yet structured wine. It is playful in its aromas with loads of red berries, pronounced florals and slight earthy notes. In the mouth, the prominent fruit aromatics are complemented by soft tannins with great length.
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 (12 200 BOTTLES PRODUCED)
Alc: 13 %
TA: 4.1 g/l