From 20+ years old dry-land Cinsault bush vines grown on the decomposed granitic soils and aged on its lees for 6 months in old French oak. This wine is a true representation of this wonderful variety, characterised by crystalline purity of crunchy red berry fruits and bright fresh acids. With its silky tannins and complex aromatics of rose petals, cherry blossom and Turkish Delight, it is the perfect red wine for all occasions.
CLIMATE / SEASON
This is an exceptional vintage and one to watch. The harvest was slightly higher (approx. 1.4% larger) than 2016 following a dry season.
Cooler nights throughout the growing season and the absence of significant heat waves during harvest time buffered the effect of the drought to some extent and offered a larger crop in Paarl and the Swartland. The relief of rain in these regions and warmer weather conditions meant that us winemakers had to keep a closer eye on the vineyards to manage the water usage very closely. On the plus side, the dry conditions resulted in very healthy vineyards and smaller berries with good colour and flavour concentration.
The post-harvest period (April and May) was very hot and dry, which led to early leaf-fall in some areas, and the accumulation of reserves was moderate. Winter arrived late in most regions, but was cold enough to break dormancy. Although rainfall was higher than the previous season in some areas and could carry the harvest through, it was still below average and the dam and soil water levels remained under pressure. Producers therefore had to irrigate meticulously. Spring arrived on time and warm weather in August contributed to somewhat earlier than normal, but even bud burst. However, cooler weather in September resulted in some instances of later and more uneven bud burst. October and November was characterised by cool nights and warm days. This was beneficial to flowering and berry set.
The generally dry season resulted in very healthy vineyards with limited occurrence of pests, diseases or rot. The dry, warm weather resulted in healthy grapes and small berries with good intensity. Greater variation between night and day temperatures during the ripening stage gave the colour and flavour formation a further boost.
WINEMAKING & VINIFICATION
This wine was made from older bush vines from the Paarl area. I walked through the vineyard several times, tasting the berries more often than in previous years to get the Southern Rhone style and not the typical overcooked / over-ripe South African style Cinsault. It was made with summer in mind, and even though it is a lighter style of red wine it shows the character of the cultivar and the classical traits of the wine’s origin. A careful balance was sought, with both elegance and complexity in mind.
The berries were picked slightly earlier than I would ordinarily pick my reds to capture the freshness I desired. After picking, we took the wines to the winery and dropped the temperature to 10 degrees. The next day I began 40% natural whole bunch fermentation. This lasted for 2 weeks with very soft pump overs so as not to extract too much fruit but rather let the natural fermentation show the beauty and honesty of the cultivar. After press it went to old oak barrels to keep the freshness. A few months later, and I felt it was ready with the freshness of fruit I wanted, while showcasing the terroir and cultivar perfectly.
TASTING NOTE From 20+ years old dry-land Cinsault bush vines grown on the decomposed granitic soils and aged on its lees for 6 months in old French oak. This wine is a true representation of this wonderful variety, characterised by crystalline purity of crunchy red berry fruits and bright fresh acids. With its silky tannins and complex aromatics of rose petals, cherry blossom and Turkish Delight, it is the perfect red wine for all occasions.
AGEING POTENTIAL 10+ Years