Franco Lourens is the assistant winemaker at Alheit Family Wines in Walker Bay and another of his own label new releases is this superb red blend from fruit sourced around the Western Cape. Cinsault is already seducing journalists and consumers around the world with the likes of Sadie Family’s Pofadder, Naude Old Vine Cinsault and others. But the category is evolving fast and new Cinsault based red blends are now starting to steal the headlines.
Quality wines to turn heads recently include the Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines Leeu Passant Cinsault – Cabernet Sauvignon Blend and Adam Mason’s Raised By Wolves School House Red Cinsault – Cabernet Sauvignon. And who could ignore the iconic cult wine Follow the Line from Duncan Savage!? Well here is another cracker to join the ranks. Using fruit sourced from unique vineyards across the Western Cape, the grapes underwent spontaneous fermentation with natural yeasts in open top fermenters without any additions of any sort. The wine was then aged in old French oak barrels for 9 months and bottled without acidification or fining.
Mono-varietal wines are often the styles to grab consumer attention as they are easier to pigeon hole and easier to understand. But with the South African category maturing nicely, you can expect to see more Cinsault based blends making headlines in 2018. This will certainly be one of them.
Lourens Family Wines Howard John 2016 Red Blend, WO Western Cape, 12.5 Abv.
A blend of 43% Cinsault from Darling and Stellenbosch, 43% Carignan from Wellington and 14% Grenache Noir from Bot River. The aromatics on the nose are incredibly intense and perfumed almost catching one unawares. Poured in a Zalto Burgundy glass, there are notes of lavender, marzipan, sweet red peppercorns but also violets and dried coriander seeds. While all very floral and lifted, there are also deeper, darker savoury notes of bresaola, cured meats, and red cherry spice. You just don’t know where the palate at 12.5 Abv is going to take you. This is a real joy-ride in the back seat of a high powered sports car. The palate is beautifully balanced and fresh, but shows impressive concentration of flavour. There are layers of sweet pithy red cherries, wild strawberry, sweet peppercorns, and raspberry ripple and the finish is rather enticing with pink stick candy and strawberry bon bons. Amazingly suave and harmonious for this type of red blend, with the varieties all pulling in the same synergistic direction. An absolutely delicious wine displaying very accomplished winemaking using high quality fruit. This wine is named after and dedicated to Franco Lourens’ father, Howard John Lourens. I imagine he must be very proud of this namesake from Franco. Drink now to 2026+
(Wine Safari Score: 94/100 Greg Sherwood MW)