The 2018 Ashbourne Cinsault Pinotage is an 80/20 blend, with Pinotage in the lead, sourced out of the Swartland from old-vine vineyards that was given no oak treatment. The end result is a wine with lower alcohol, 12.5% by volume, bestowed with a modicum of elegance and finely tuned fruit tannins to the red and darker red fruit flavors that have a savory quality. Displaying surprising depth and richness there’s brightness to the fruit which plays nicely against the wine’s savory edge. The richness and depth of the Pinotage is freshened by the lightness and brightness of the Cinsault. This is showing well and should drink nicely over the next couple of years.
93 pts Tim Atkin – “Sourced from two parts of the Swartland, rather than the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, this is the second vintage of this 80/20 blend. It’s a tangy, tart, pomegranate and summer berry style with fine tannins and no wood at all.”
This lower alcohol unwooded blend of 80% Pinotage and 20% Cinsault is made from grapes sourced from old vineyards in the Swartland appellation, for open generosity of palate in the year of production. The richness and depth of the Pinotage is freshened by the lightness and brightness of the Cinsault.
The 2018 vintage in the Swartland followed two years of very dry conditions, causing concerns over the ability of moisture deficient vines to properly ripen their fruit. Fortunately, it was a less windy year than usual, which helped with ripening. In addition, the 46 year old deep-rooted, early-ripening Pinotage vines in the east facing de-composed granite soils of the Paardeberg’s, Joubertskloof, weathered the dry conditions beautifully and achieved full phenolic ripeness early at surprisingly low alcohol. The fruit was excellent with particularly small bunches and berries. The later-ripening Cinsault from the Knolfontein vineyard in the Swartland, with its more heavily structured soils ripened effortlessly as well, as a result of deep roots finding sufficient moisture. Overall, 2018 was a relatively low acid and high pH year favouring deep rooted older vines and earlier ripening varieties. The resulting wines are accessible, elegant and perfumed.