This is a cinsault to get people talking about cinsault. Pitched in a very of the moment midweight style, this sports a riot of red berries paired with spice and dusty minerality, a fine but engagingly sandy tannin cleaning up the finish.
This comes under the crown-sealed small batch runs that Smallfry make, and 2022 has yielded an exceptional reflection of a little understood variety from their biodynamic vineyard. More commonly ending up in blends for red and rosé, this is a rare varietal bottling that shows what an exciting grape it can be. Pitched in a light to midweight style, this is very much red fruited, with aromas of cranberry, red cherry, redcurrant and subtle flecks of spice. Those notes persist on the palate, with red apple skin flavour and attendant grippy texture, along with a sandy mineral tannin and some earthy complexity to reign the bright fruit in through the persistent finish.
Themes of this wine
Cinsault has been grown in Australia since pioneering days, but it has typically been swallowed by blends. However, its ability to shrug off hot and dry conditions and still make elegant wines with plenty of acidity is seeing its star rise in warmer zones like the Barossa Valley. Fragrant and quite pretty, cinsault can have very lifted aromas of red berry fruits, like raspberry, strawberry and cherry, while some blue floral notes, like violet also typically feature. It rarely achieves much more than midweight, with gentle tannins and decent acidity.
The Barossa is arguably Australia’s most revered wine region. It dwarfs many other fine wine regions for scale, while firmly maintaining a quality profile, with its distinctive style and character recognised worldwide. It is dripping in history, has far and away the largest resource of old and ancient vines in the country, and fifth- and sixth-generation growers and makers proliferate. It is fair to call it the cornerstone of Australian wine. It is the home of powerful red wines, established names making established styles, but there are also makers finding new meaning in the territory.
An organic farming method created by Rudolph Steiner in the 1920s, biodynamics is a slightly mystical approach, employing elaborate organic ‘preparations’ to restore the natural balance of the soil and encourage microorganisms. It also observes the lunar cycle to prescribe actions in the vineyard and winery. Why some of it works is not clearly understood, but it is used by some of the world’s greatest producers.