2017 Raised by Wolves “Old School” Cinsaut Cabernet Sauvignon, Stellenbosch
2017 Raised by Wolves “Old School” Cinsaut Cabernet Sauvignon, Stellenbosch
Having enjoyed many old South African Cabernet Sauvignons from the 1960’s and 1970’s I was enthralled to discover that many of these old gems contained far greater percentages of Cinsaut than Cabernet Sauvignon, reflecting the actual plantings of both varieties at the time.
Using possibly the oldest producing Cinsaut vineyard in Stellenbosch (planted in 1965) and Bonniemile Cabernet planted in the 1980’s I have attempted to pay homage to this uniquely South African story.
Vinification of both varieties was carried out in separate concrete ‘kuipe’ before transferring to barrels for 18 months maturation.
Raised by Wolves is the brainchild of Adam Mason, winemaker at Mulderbosch Vineyards. The name is a parody of the constant one-upmanship of winemakers: “My wine is a single vineyard.” … “Yeah, well my wine is naturally fermented.” … “Oh yeah, well my wine is hand sorted by berry.” And Adam’s response: “Well my wines are all of the above, and I was raised by wolves.”
The Raised by Wolves wines are all vinified with minimalistic intervention to allow the true character of the varietal and the site-specific terroir to shine through.
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@CorTot I had the same question and did some digging. @wmhatch is right - this is a different company. The wine you are referring to (one of my all time favorite WW purchases) doesn’t appear to be in production anymore. The same people still run a wine bar in Walla Walla called Brix, but as far as I can tell they’ve stopped producing their own wines. Would be very happy to be wrong about this, so please let me know if anyone has other info.
Well, Greg Sherwood, MW (??) tasted a barrel sample in 2018…
Old School Red Blend 2017, 13 Abv.
2/3 Cinsault & 1/3 Cabernet Sauvignon
Beautiful aromatics of black plum and blackberry, roses,Turkish delight and rosemary bushes on a warm summers day. There is superb freshness and delicious bright red berry crunch, soft supple tannins and lovely energy and verve all packaged with a comforting harmony and balance.
(Wine Safari Score: 91-93+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
@kaolis Hmm, not familiar with Greg Sherwood reviews. It’s certainly a positive review using many good-sounding marketing words – so definitely not a neutral description of the characteristics of the wine.
Though, not sure what “Turkish delight” is, or if it’s even legal here…
(sorry for the delay. I had various computer problems.)
I believe I ended up with a flawed bottle. Bummer, because we’d only had one South African wine, back before we “got into” wine. And we’ve enjoyed Cinsaults we’ve had, like Jillian’s wonderful Onesta. We don’t enjoy Bordeauxs or Meritages, but, often a varietal you don’t like straight can be great “helping out” a varietal you do like. So I was looking forward to this.
Upon opening, there was very little nose; I could not discern anything. Not even fruit. My wife got chemical. On the palette, light tannins. Light overall, as I expected from the Cinsault. Still no fruit. From the flavor wheel, I got microbiological, maybe Lactic. My wife got: vinegar/sour/pungent. A few minutes later she got microbiological/yogurt.
My intial “blink” reaction to the first taste was “this wine has started going downhill. Should have been opened a few years ago.” But it’s a 2017, that had the tannins and acid. And Cab. And heck, Jillian’s Cinsaults with this much age were fine. So I suspect that if I opened another bottle it would be fine. Bad luck!
A couple hours later: on the nose, I still got not much, maybe a little alcohol. The tannins were more prominent, but maybe that was just my intense swishing. Still sour, but now I could discern some light fruit. My wife also got dried fruit on the front, with pungent finish.
And tasting the bit we had in the decanter for 9 hours . . . still the same. Not much flavor other than sour.
Believe it or not, if another rat or 2 gives a great review, I’d be really interested in this, because of the varietal and location. I’m assuming we got a flawed bottle.
@wardad Yes, hopefully more rats. Tonight I happened to open a ‘15 Onesta Cincaut, one of my last 5 bottles, and wondered how long I could nurse them until the next offering. I like the varietal but this rattage makes the offering sound sketchy even with the great review. Come on rat!
We have some 2018s of this here. This is going purely off of memory, but I recall this being an easy-drinking great everyday wine. Not easy-drinking as in sweet or anything like that, just a very nice red to have with your meal. Something that I would have been happy to pay $15 a bottle 10 years ago, and more like $20-25 now.
That’s all I can really offer/remember, but I’ve liked this producer, and the 2018 version of this wine!
Maybe we’ll open another one of the 2018 bottles we have here tonight with dinner, in which case I’ll update my notes here.
I had a bottle of the 2018 not two nights ago. Got a bunch of RBW stuff from Garagiste and was pleased across the board. The 2018 is drinking wonderfully as an everyday red. I don’t know anything about vintage ratings in RSA; is there any reason to believe this is a castoff vintage? This wine is not meant for long term aging, but the 2018 is showing no sign of degradation.
That’s an interesting blend - I would think that even that little cab would ‘overwhelm’ the Cinsault, since it is such a light grape. And the spelling of the variety is always interesting - here in the US, it’s official spelling is without the ‘l’ - that’s according to the TTB and the Grape Crush Report . . .
@klezman I believe it is - but not sure of percentages. To me, in a blend, cinsault kind of acts like Grenache, raising the aromatic profile. But as you know it is a delicate variety and can easily be overwhelmed . . . Cheers
It is a blend of cab, cinsault and carignane - but as you know, Musar is singular in nature. It is ‘funky’ in that it is known to have high levels of VA and oftentimes brett, too - so when tasting it, you are not necessarily picking out the varieties included. Cheers
@tercerowines True all around for Musar. I enjoy the bit of VA and brett since it seems totally in place for that wine.
I have a hard time in general picking out the individual varieties in a well done blend. The couple blending workshops I’ve done suggest that tiny additions can dramatically change our perception of the wine even if it doesn’t overtly give any of the added varietal characteristics.
@klezman blending is always a challenge - and to me, NEVER works out exactly as you intend it to. Little additions can make some changes but often times do not do as much as we think they do, given time to truly analyze them. But yep, to me, maintaining varietal character is important when blending - but heck, that just could be me . . . Cheers
Have any Casemates been experiencing your Order Status keeps saying “Processing”, when the wine ends up at your door? I’ve had two shipments that had that problem and I think INFROM mentioned it too! When it’s in that stateof “Processing”, there is no tracking number to follow it on UPS’s site!! I got my last order early last week and it’s still showing “Processing”!! What are the odds of another case is coming???
@Boatman72 Unfortunately, very low: .8% Cases show up, often, before the system knows. Although I got a notice email one time a month or so after the original deliver. I admit ran upstairs to see if I’d gotten a ‘bonus’. (nope)