Young winemaker Alex Milner suddenly became very cinsault-centric when a professor told him not to bother reading the cinsault chapter in his textbook because it would be worthless to him. Fast forward from that 2011 conversation to today, and The Natte Valleij Cinsault Collective. Alex set out to find forgotten patches of old dryland bush vine cinsault across the Western Cape, expressing their individualities through low-interference winemaking. These 1978 planted bush vines grow in a very isolated block in coastal-influenced Darling, on sloping decomposed granite. This low intervention, lighter, dusky-hued red was fermented in concrete egg. Perfumed wild raspberry, sapid plum, dried rosemary, green leaf, and scrubby herbs flood the sharper palate, lined with sarsaparilla and lifted with gentle acidity. Tannins are fine, guiding this to a pink peppercorn kissed finish. Drinking well now, with a slight chill.
Score: 90 points -- Treve Ring, gismondionwine.com, 2020