Serious Wine tasting Awards
On Strawberry Hill farm we are passionate about many things. But two things stand out above the rest-wine and mountain biking. Our farm is perfect for those who like to ride trails..all day or those who like to sit and drink wine...all day and night. For those who like both, it makes for busy days (and nights) in the mountains. To celebrate this, we started a little wine club where we occasionally gather, with other wine-lovers, to taste and rate wine. In order to better document our findings and celebrate the winners, we decided to capture our findings in a blog. These are, without doubt, the most important wine tasting awards happening anywhere in the Grootvadersbosch valley so please take serious note!
Cinsault also known as the Black Prince
This week we tasted Cinsault, also known as Cinsaut, Ottavianello or the Black Prince! This cultivar has a famous South Africa wine heritage. In 1925, Abraham Izak Perold, the first Professor of Viticulture at Stellenbosch University, combined the qualities of Pinot Noir and Cinsault to produce Pinotage. Historically, Cinsault has been a lowly, blending, workhouse used in red blends in Southern France and the Rhone valley. It was also used for menial (but important) tasks like lubrication. The tiny grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon would clog up the press and so the bigger, juicier grapes of Cinsualt would keep the press running. In Southern France it is known as an excellent grape for Rose, producing floral and fruit flavors, to be enjoyed with some garden snails.
Climate change is assisting in the revival of this cultivar as the grape is tolerant to heat. A small silver lining to the planet's plight! In South Africa, the epicentre of the revival is the Swartland, where some of the oldest Cinsualt bush vines can be found (from 1990!). The grape thrives in warm climates and is now grown more widely in Chile, Lebanon, Morocco and California.
Cinsault produces a soft wine that is low in tannins with a light, brick red color and the flavours of cherries, strawberry and violets.
Similar to the prestigious, Michelin awards, the name of the judges will be kept anonymous. Dissimilar to all other tastings, we simply ask the judges to rank wines from most yummy (1) to least yummy (6). Wines are tasted blind. So what did we taste?
Our resident statistician then analysed the results and eliminated the highest and lowest for each wine. There was a clear winner: Rietvallei Estate Wine, Cinsault, Dark Cin. Dark Cin is a heavier, more mysterious and more complex representation of this cultivar. We highly recommend popping off to the vineyard in Robertson or the brilliant wineshop, Platform 62 to collect a few bottles (or cases). Roberston is on route to Grootvadersbosch from Cape Town via the N1.
Second place goes to Waterkloof, Seriously Cool which is an easy stop off the N2 on your way to Grootvadersbosch from Cape Town. Waterkloof also has a lovely tasting room and restaurant. Both of these are easier travel options than France, and clearly, accoording to our experts, have better wine!
Next time, we think we may continue to celebrate the excellence of South African wine and explore some Pinotage.
Life in a forest in the mountains