The Natte Valleij single vineyard labels of Alex Milner use the dashing strap line ‘An Exploration of Cape Cinsault’ … and I can tell you that this incredible 2021 vintage Stellenbosch Cinsault made from 49-year-old dryland bush vines grown on deep decomposed granite soils, takes you on one hell of journey.
Affectionately called ‘the ballerina’ in the cellar because of its bright ethereal energy and gracefulness, the wine was matured for 11 months in concrete egg to maintain the vineyards essential perfumed purity and mineral poise, two hallmarks of this granitic vineyard lying in the shadows of the Helderberg Mountain.
I recently caught up with Alex Milner in March at his cellar during harvest and then again in early May in London to taste through all his new releases. But two of his wines specifically left a very big impression on me, namely his single vineyard old vine Cinsault reds from Stellenbosch and Darling, that are made in circa 2,000 bottle quantities.
Natte Valleij Stellenbosch Old Vine Cinsault 2021, WO Stellenbosch, 11.5% Abv.
A translucent red cherry ruby in colour, the aromatics on this wine are astonishingly pretty sharing the tantalisingly perfumed opulence and lift that you would find on a young classical Grand Cru Burgundy tasted from barrel. The fragrant notes of violets, cherry blossom and pressed rose petals slowly melt into waves of red cherry, cranberry and wild strawberry fruits with that ever present granitic mineral vein lending further complexity. The texture in the mouth is enchanting, resembling liquid silk and the intense red berry fruits are as pure as driven snow. This is an impressive single vineyard wine built around purity and precision, finesse and freshness, and in 2021, Alex Milner has created a proverbial liquid masterpiece. Drink this on release and over the next 10 to 12+ years.
(Wine Safari Score: 96/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
The Natte Valleij wines are imported exclusively into the UK by Museum Wines and the single vineyard Cinsault reds retail for circa £27pb. http://www.museumwines.co.uk