This wine has earned itself high praise from wine connoisseurs around the world. Most recently, Master of Wine Brandon Kerne compared it to the greats like Château Rayas, Château Musar, The Sadie Family ‘Pofadder,’ and Isabel Ferrando’s cult frenzy Cinsault-based Châteauneuf-du-Pape. To drive home the point, Kerne writes, “This ‘unlikely hero of the South African New Wave’ deserves your attention immediately.” Throughout the rest of the world this gem of a wine is known as ‘Zeitgeist’ but in the US Francois was forced to rename it ‘Hinterland.’ The ‘hinterland’ is an uncharted area beyond a coastal district. It is quite applicable here seeing as the sleepy town is less than ten miles from the Atlantic Ocean and surrounded by the vast area of fields of the western Swartland. Cinsaut has found its spiritual home in Darling. Here the late Boetie Van Reenen, who passed away much too young at age 37 in 2017, farmed an insane site that has since been taken care of by various family members and employees. Boetie was responsible for these much-coveted Cinsaut vines that have drawn the likes of many of the biggest names in the South African wine community. The dry-farmed, bushvine Cinsaut gaining cool breezes from the nearby ocean coupled with just enough warm sun to intensify the grapes a bit really speaks of the koffieklip riddled granitic soils. There is a freshness and precision rarely seen with Cinsaut and the pH stays low enough where whole-clusters can be used.
The hand-harvested fruit was from two rows in the middle of the hill and was transported back to Francois’ winery to cold soak overnight. Fermentation was done in a concrete egg and one 500L old oak barrel, with 75% of the grapes fermenting whole-cluster. A fair bit of hand plunging ensued over the first few days to really get the fermentation going and then basically left alone. After ten days the wine was dry enough to press and send with the fine lees to a 9hL nomblot concrete egg for aging. After 16 months the wine was bottled directly from the egg off of the lees hit with a small addition of sulfur but no other adjustments were made.