Wine of the Week: The Red Horse – Revelation Cinsaut 2011

The damages: R200 a bottle – but then only 230 were made and the label alone is worth the price.

Available from: [email protected] Tel. 083 400 2999.

rh 220x300 Wine of the Week: The Red Horse   Revelation Cinsaut 2011The back label: Bertus Osbloed van Niekerk was a Hervormde predikant in Carletonville for 16 years, which is surely enough to drive anyone to drink.  As he recalls “I was forever interrogated about the ‘end of times’ and the apocalyptic events that were to precede it.”  So when he made a garagiste Cinsault from 40 year old Bottelary bush vine fruit in his own virtual winery (his garage.  By the way, what happened to the once blossoming garagiste movement?) his thoughts turned once again to Revelations.  As he explains:

“The Red Horse of the Apocalypse is indeed only one of the four horses featured in Revelations 6.  The other horses (still to be released) are a pitch black Helderberg Cabernet Sauvignon, a luminous Faure Chardonnay and a caramelly Elgin Riesling, dubbed the ‘Pale Horse’ due to the fact that the varietal seems to be terminally out of fashion.”

As indeed is Cinsaut, a cultivar now fallen on hard times but being rediscovered by the new wave of SA winemakers with Adi Badenhorst in the vanguard.  After fathering Pinotage with Pinot Noir, Cinsaut was the most important red wine variety in SA for more than a century.  Widely planted, it popped up in prestigious blends such as those Rustenberg dry reds of fond memory and even Kanonkop Cabernet Sauvignon contained a small amount of Cinsaut in the 1970’s.

Osbloed notes this wine is possessed of complex red berry fruit succulence supported by an almost tobacco-like texture thanks to the barrel aging process.  It is a serious beast at 14.5% alcohol and has a fine tannin structure to support bottle aging for four to five years.  The amazing label was inspired by Liberty Leading the People by Eugene Delacroix and was painted by Selma Albasini, an artist possessed of the most patriotic initials.