2017 Arco Laarman, Focal Point Cinsault, Stellenbosch, South Africa £24.95, Vineyards of Sherborne, 01935-815544, VineyardsOfSherborne.co.uk
I have known Arco Laarman since he took over the reins at the famous Paarl winery Glen Carlou, and ten years down the line he has set up on his own. I tasted his wines back in May and it has been a long six months waiting for them to turn up on our shores. The 2017 is the maiden vintage for Arco’s Focal Point collection and both the chardonnay and cinsault are utterly delicious and unlike anything you will have tasted before.
The ethos behind the Focal Point range is to capture the exact expressions of the vineyards from which he draws his fruit. This fascinating cinsault comes from bush vines in Stellenbosch’s Bottelary Hills. Half of the grapes were de-stemmed and the other half were fermented in whole bunches. The fruit character is startlingly bright and clear with earth, stem and spice notes intertwined with strawberry and sour cherry tones. There is no noticeable oak interference as maturation took place in 300 litre neutral barrels for ten months and so this wine has the purest of all cinsault flavours.
Only 1,424 bottles were released in this vintage and so stock is painfully rare, but if you want to taste a genuinely intriguing cinsault, made by a desperately talented dude, and closed with a hilarious cork stopper, then this is it!
• Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (MatthewJukes.com).