Allow us to pour a glass of Percheron Old Vine Cinsault while we introduce winemaker Ryno Booysen. Ryno studied Microbiology at University, he then moved on to the University of Stellenbosch to study viticulture and oenology alongside JD Rossouw. JD Rossouw (Jan du Plessis but JD is much easier to say) was always destined to be a winemaker, even before he was born. Whilst pregnant, his mother helped with pressings and punch downs in the family winery, enriching JDs formative senses with winery life. Together Ryno and JD created Percheron Old Vine Cinsault. Our selected house red at OakVilla Restaurant in the lovely country side of Norfolk UK.
The Cinsault grapes used is grown in the Breede River Valley vineyard, stretching along the lower contours of the Hex River and Langeberg Mountains. The soil is mainly Karoo type, red, lime rich on the higher grounds and sandy loam lower down on the slopes. The Hex River Valley name needs some explanation as it is simply irresistible not to share the tales of the region. Hex is a Dutch word for witch. The legend has its origin in 1768, during the very early days of the valley’s settlement. A beautiful young lady Eliza Meiring, lived with her family in the newly build Manor House on Buffelskraal Farm, northeast of De Doorns. The Manor House was at the foot of the Matroosberg Peak, and at 2249 m, Matroosberg is the second highest peak in the Western Cape. The young men in the area were all taken by Eliza’s beauty and elegance and so to deter the unwanted attention, Eliza challenged her would-be-suitors to climb to the heights of Matroosberg peak, saying that she would marry the one who brought her a rare indigenous Disa Uniflora orchid from its treacherous heights. Eliza’s favourite suitor decided to take up the challenged but unfortunately fell to his death. Eliza was struck down by grief and guilt, her mourning was so intense that she lost her mind and had to be confined to her home as she wanted to head into the mountains to search for her love. Eliza tried to escape from her home prison from the upper floor window but fell and was killed by the fall. From this very sad story the legend grew and it is said that at full moon Eliza’s spirit can be found wondering the mountain slopes of the Matroosberg, searching for her lost love.
With the location of the Hex River Valley in your minds eye it is not all strange that winemaker Ryno and JD introduced the Percheron to work the vineyards so it is very fitting to give this hardworking horse breed the front position on the label of the Percheron wines. Perhaps it is the Hex of the Valley that makes this such an irresistible and tempting wine but most likely it is down to talent and quality of the grapes grown in the Hex River Valley.
No irrigation is used on the vineyards and very little crop control is needed due to the age of the vines naturally restricting yield. All grapes are harvested by hand and horse. Cinsault has bewilderingly been overlooked for so long in the Cape. The vines are mostly 40 year old bush vines from hidden corners of the Cape. The climate is perfect for viticulture with the low rainfall in summer months, tempered by cool afternoon breezes and the cold winters allowing the vines to rest and to build up reserves. All grapes are picked by hand at optimal phenolic ripeness, followed by a fermentation using delestage in which the juice is oxygenated which brings a lower concentration of tannins and a higher concentration of esters, key compounds that contribute fruitiness. The result is a wine, in which red fruit dominates and which is full of juiciness.
Grapes: Cinsault 100%
Region: Western Cape, South Africa
Alcohol content: 14%
Allergens: Contains sulfites
Features: Vegetarian, Vegan
Food Match: Lamb, pork or carpaccio beef
“Bright, expressive and gently savoury on the nose. Along with its blushing hue, the palate rewards with fresh pomegranate flavour and acidity, savoury gamey notes, and a bright, beating heart of cherry ripe fruit.”
“The bright red hue of this wine reflected through the log fire, with its deep dark berry notes, reminds of relaxed times spent with friends and family nattering about this and that. Match it with a lighter red meat or strongly flavoured seafood dish and you’ll be forgiven for getting a sense of serenity and flavour explosion. This one tickles all the senses.”
“Cinsault bright on the eye, this makes me want to swirl the glass of wine around to feast my eyes on the tempting colour of the wine. At first peach and nectarine is detected with a raspberries finish. Medium intensity that sits well on the pallet. I would pair this red with our beef burgers and the minute steak and egg from the grill. Now to find a set of African drums to provide a rhythm to swirl my wine to.”