20160503-NVJ Cinsault stellenboschCollective-059-Edit-WEB

Natte Valleij, Cinsault, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2017


It’s been said that Cinsault is the best cultivar at expressing Terroir and winemaker Alex Milner first discovered it during a harvest in Provence, despite it once being South Africa’s most widely planted varietal. Despite the majority of what he was harvesting being destined to become rosé this encounter planted the seed for what would become his Cinsault Collective, the same grape grown in four different regions from old vines, each beautifully expressing its own unique terroir.


The Stellenbosch Cinsault is produced from the oldest vines in the collective, planted on rising grounds in the shadows of the Helderberg Mountain in 1974. It was the rising grounds which aided its discovery by Alex whilst out cycling, an ancient block of Cinsault which had somehow survived the voracious thirst for other varietals during Stellenbosch’s period as the go to region for producing straight-to-supermarket wines in the 90s.


This wine receives no oak ageing, instead it rests in a concrete egg for twelve months. The use of concrete isa the ultimate way to preserve the natural fruit characteristics of a wine whilst it undergoes malolactic fermentation as it imparts no flavour whatsoever. The result is a wine possessing something of an aristocracy. A heavenly compote of cherries and strawberries but with a devil may care gutsiness that catches you off guard whilst never being anything other than utterly elegant. This prince knows how to present himself but also knows how to party.


Tim Atkin MW scored this wine 92 out of 100, on a par with the Simonsberg-Paarl but wildly different in style – meaning you’ll have to buy both!

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