Carinus Family Vineyards new releases

By , 2 July 2021

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Danie and Hugo Carinus, growers with vineyards in both Stellenbosch and Swartland and who make wine under the Carinus Family Vineyards label, are toying with the idea of building their own cellar but in the meantime, the acclaimed Lukas van Loggerenberg takes care of production except for the Polkadraai Heuwels Chenin Blanc as made by Chris Alheit of Alheit Vineyards. Tasting notes and ratings for the new releases as follows:

Carinus Family Vineyards Syrah 2020
Price: R160
W.O. Stellenbosch. This wine sees a second of Danie Carinus’s vineyards incorporated for the first time while winemaking involved stems being added back to the ferment rather than 100% whole-bunch fermentation as in previous years. Compelling aromatics of violets, red and blackberries, pepper, and spice while the palate has purity and depth, wonderful freshness, and nicely grippy tannins – more concentration and drive than previous vintages.

CE’s rating: 93/100.

Carinus Rooidraai 2020
Price: R365
From Swartland Chenin Blanc. Matured in only older oak for 10 months (the 2019 had a 25% new oak component). Subtle aromatics of citrus, peach, apple, and hay plus the smallest hint of reduction while the palate shows great purity and linearity – lovely clarity of fruit, racy acidity, and a pithy finish. This is a taut, almost severe wine but quite riveting as a result. Alcohol: 12.5%.

CE’s rating: 96/100.

Carinus Polkadraai Heuwels 2020
Price: R365
From Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc. Whereas 75% of the 2019 was matured in concrete, the 2020 went into old oak for 10 months. This vintage saw a more open canopy in the lead-up to harvest after concerns that it was cropping too much the previous year and there is certainly a more “sun-kissed” quality to the wine. Honeysuckle, peach, yellow apple, oatmeal, and spice on the nose while the palate is relatively round with moderate acidity. Well balanced and flavourful, the finish possessing a saline quality. Alcohol: 13.5%.

CE’s rating: 93/100.

Buy This Wine

The Carinus Family Vineyards Chenin Blanc 2020 was reviewed in April and rated 91/100 – see here.

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  • Pikes2 July 2021

    It is as if these two wines have changed personalities, by the look of abv and also the tasting notes. The Rooidraai has gone on a diet and the Polkadraai has hit the gym?

    Any idea why the wines have taken on such a transformation this vintage?

    Some seriously cool kit from two of the best growers in the country.

    • Christian Eedes2 July 2021

      Hi Pikes, Both are relatively new bottlings and my sense is that growers and winemakers are still making small but telling adjustments every year as they try to work out how to get the very best out of each site.

      • Pikes2 July 2021

        Christian, or is it also a bit of vintage variation? It is what the sites experienced and provided this year and the winemakers has put that vintage in bottle. Always find we talk about doing minimal in the cellar and expressing the site, but then trying to keep wines stylistically similar year after year. Should us as winemakers not celebrate the difference each year to a degree and hope that our followers are loyal and understanding enough to enjoy it with us?

        Or are the winemakers forced to try and replicate a product like a nv champagne, in order to keep his/her followers? A difficult question I guess, but interesting to find out how loyal consumers are and if they are willing to accept vintage variation or do they want a similar product year after year.

        • Christian Eedes2 July 2021

          Hi Pikes, I think it depends a lot on where a wine is positioned in the market – there is more onus on producers of big-volume, entry-level wines to be consistent from year to year as consumers inevitably want a repeatable drinking experience. As wines become more premium, then the conditions that prevailed during a particular vintage increasingly becomes part of the proposition – how well did a producer realise the opportunity offered by a good vintage but equally how well did he or she negotiate the challenges of a difficult vintage.

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