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Darling, Cape West Coast, South Africa
Pinotage is a truly South African grape: a cross between Cinsault and Pinot noir, usually made in a riper style. The NAT Pinotage is made in a lighter and fresher style that is more reminiscent of its parentage and connected to Alex Milner's passion for Cinsault at Natte Valleij. Dark in color, berry fruits and whiffs of charcuterie on the harmonious nose. On the palate macerated plums and that subtle charcuterie character follow. A nice athleticism with bright freshness, balanced acidity, with an elegant tannic pull.
Dryland bush-vines planted in 1997 in the Darling area an hour North of Cape Town. The soils are Malmesbury shales with some decomposed granite influence. These 24 year old bush vines are planted on a Easterly slope, making for one of the more iconic sunrises of the harvest. Its position is a mere 16km form the cold Atlantic ocean, this allows for the *South Wester wind to have a strong cooling influence during the hot summer afternoons. *A localized wind that picks up most afternoons in the Cape, it blows in off the cold Atlantic as the land mass heats up, it brings a welcome relief to hot afternoons. Extreme care is taken to monitor these vines to achieve the optimal pick date, which is in late January. Harvested by hand and then further sorted by hand in the cellar to ensure that only the best fruit is used for fermentation. Fermentation is allowed to begin spontaneously in large concrete open fermenters, this will last 7-8 days. During fermentation only a punch-down method is used to allow for gentle extraction after which it is manual basket pressed. It is then left undisturbed in 1500L concrete eggs and a few seasoned barrels for 9 months to maintain that poise and reflection of site.
Residual sugar 1.5