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(2019) Fresh, lightly ashy nose, a little wood component does round it out, but it is quite wild and gamy in character, tobacco and spice, and on the palate good acidity and a rustic bite of tannin, quite long.
(2017) Some wines just don't need to try too hard, and the word that sprang to my mind with this Cinsault from dry-farmed vineyards in the Swartland was 'effortless'. Unoaked, it has such a breezy charm so rarely seen in red wines: a touch of ash, a touch of Indian ink, black cherry lightness of fruit and fleetness of foot. The palate similarly doesn't scream, but doesn't whisper either, with enough gutsy backbone to make it duck-, game- and casserole-friendly, but with that charming approachability and freshness to the fruit. A delightful, serious but unforced red wine. For full information and food matching ideas, watch the video review.
(2013) A Southern Rhône-style red, made with 83% Syrah, Cinsault and Carignan by Chris and Andrea Mullineux, this is made with indigenous yeasts, minimal sulphur and not other additives. The nose is cherry ripe, with a lovely little white pepper lift and a fleeting glimpse of something delicately floral. In the mouth the full, honest, richly fruited wine has a rustic tannin grip that roughens up the smooth texture of the fruit, a lively cherry skin tartness and plenty of spice and warmth. Deliciously done.
(2013) Spice route was in fact the Swartland pioneer, when Charles Back of Fairview estate in Paarl launched the label in the late 1990s, with a young Eben Sadie as winemaker. This is made from several varieties, but mainly Syrah (36%) and Mourvèdre (26%), a heady 14.5% abv blend, the components aged individually in a mix of American and French oak casks before final assemblage. It has a rich, thick, plum, blackcurrant and spicy nose, little hints of menthol and sweet earth adding complexity. On the palate it delivers a huge flood of sweet, ripe, glossy black fruit, that washes across the tongue before the kick of spice and pepper punches in. With chocolate-rich tannins and a rasp of plum-skin acidity, this is long, robust and satisfying with spices dominating the finish.
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