Natte Valleij, Cinsault, Swartland, 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.
Produced from grapes grown on vines planted in 1986 on a eastern slope which catches the early morning sun, if you’re ever going to fall asleep amongst the vines this is the place to do it.
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.
This juice is bursting with ripe, bright fruits but boasts a hearty structure with no lack of vivacity. The finish is long, elegant and finessed.
Jancis Robinson scorned this on par with the Darling awarding it 18 out of 20 whilst Tim Atkin MW scored it 92 out of 100, on a par with the Simonsberg-Paarl but both are wildly different in style – meaning you’ll have to buy all three or better yet, the mixed case!
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