Cinsaut’s role in South Africa is very much in focus at the moment. A taste of the Rustenberg Dry Red 1970 confirms the notion that Cinsaut offers remarkable ageability, particularly as part of a blend. The tradition at Rustenberg in the 1970s was to vinify roughly 70% Cabernet Sauvignon with 30% Cinsaut. Made by Etienne Le Riche, the wine has since acquired near-cult status, with examples from great vintages lasting decades.
With the launch of the Le Riche Richesse 2014, the first vintage to include 12% Cinsaut, Christo and Yvonne Le Riche have re-invented the success of the past and followed their father’s example by effectively creating a modern-day Rustenberg Dry Red. As well as its ability to age, Cinsaut is noted for being true to its terroir, and what Christo likes most is its ‘South Africanness’.
Blended with Cabernet, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec, the Cinsaut portion was sourced from a 42-year-old block, close to the Le Riche cellar in Stellenbosch. It brings a delicate lightness to the wine and, importantly, allows the use of stems, adding freshness. This 90-pointer, at a smashable 12% alcohol, is a great example of the past inspiring the next generation. A true South African blend that offers stellar value.
Le Riche Richesse 2014 – R135
‘This is the Le Riches’ second label, combining Cabernet with Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and (for the first time) Cinsault. It’s a leafy, attractive, comparatively forward style with fine-grained tannins and a sweet fruit core. Drink: 2016-19.’ – Tim Atkin Report 2016, 90/100
Rustenberg Dry Red 1970 – R 2,500
‘A recent tasting of the 1970 was a revelation. Slightly shy to start, with earth, wet tobacco and reticent red berry, but still intact on the nose. The palate astounded with good intensity, charming sweet tannins and a surprisingly persistent finish. It was such a delicious drink and 46 years old!’ – James Pietersen, tasted September 2016