Pedigree: Adi Badenhorst is one of the "uber cool" winemakers working in South Africa's Swartland Wine Region. The Swartland used to be a region dominated by a giant cooperative. Not so anymore. Today the Swartland is the "coolest address" to make fine wine. And Adi is one of the larger-than-life protagonists, unconventional in many ways except two; a passion for great "vins de terroir" and a commitment to working with old vineyards planted to legacy grape varieties and rescued from obscurity. Adi has honed his craft in many regions and has done stints at famous wineries. But here he is at home, literally, tasting wines made meticulously from all-but-forgotten grape varieties in his kitchen. I shared a bottle of Palomino with him there on my last visit. Heard of Palomino, also known as Groendruif in South Africa? Palomino is the grape of Fino Sherry. Adi is the maker of the Secateur Red and White regional blends which have become popular in the USA for quality and value for money.
Today's offering is a single vineyard wine made from Cinsault. Cinsault is a red wine grape and one of the permitted varieties for Chateauneuf du Pape, perhaps the greatest red wine of the Southern Rhone. Cinsault was once South Africa's most important red wine cultivar, absolutely the backbone of the industry, but has been steadily usurped by more fashionable grapes. The 2018 Ringmuur Cinsault derives from a single vineyard planted on decomposed granite in 1963. Ringmuur is Afrikaans for the old ring wall bordering the farm - the French would call it a Clos. The total yield was 800kg, resulting in just 550 bottles for the entire world!
Grape Varieties: 100% Cinsault
Vinification: The grapes are sorted meticulously in the vineyard and transported in small picking boxes to a refrigerated container where they are left overnight to cool. The whole bunches undergo carbonic maceration in a small, sealed tank. After 20 days fermentation, all the wine is transferred to a 500L vat.
Ageing: After 11 months in cask, the wine is bottled off its gross lees unfined and unfiltered.
Residual Sugar 1.9 g/l
Total Acidity 4.4 g/l
Total Sulfites 83 ppm
Color: Vibrant dark strawberry color showing very little age.
Bouquet: Lifted and pure strawberry aromatics, typical of carbonic maceration. This purity notwithstanding, the bouquet is complex, layered and nuanced.
Palate: Palate is redolent of the nose. The entry is round, and mouth filling with lovely strawberry and white cherry fruit. There is a saline minerality that plays off the delightfully forward fruit. A backbone of well-resolved, tightly grained tannins and ample acidity provide poised balance. Finish is medium long and begs the next sip.
When to Drink: Drink now through 2025
Serving Temperature: 60°F - 65°F
Food Pairing: Lamb grilled medium rare over vine prunings is an obvious choice for me. This Cinsault, unlike many wines, also complements certain spicy dishes; mild Thai curries, spicy vegetable dishes with Zucchini and lentils. Two spice friendly wines for you today!