Silwervis 2014

By , 23 July 2015





Charging R275 a bottle might not be a lot in an international context but it’s still ambitious by local standards, especially if it’s for a single-variety Cinsaut but that’s precisely what Ryan Mostert has done with his Silwervis 2014.

Is it worth the money? The aromatics are very floral with notes of red geranium and rose but there’s also a touch of reduction. The palate meanwhile is medium-bodied with lovely fruit expression, bright acidity and relatively soft tannins. More red fruit than black and a little white pepper before a finish which is saline in the most pleasant way. Hugely appealing but there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s Cinsaut and how exciting can this grape be on its own?

Score: 90/100.

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15 comment(s)

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    Ryanthewinegeek | 27 July 2015

    Some good insight here. It’s been great to read the comments and debate. Just a quick correction to my original post:
    The ’72 I recently tasted was an Oude Libertas 100% Cinsault not Chateau Libertas.

    Hennie Taljaard | 27 July 2015

    I say buy as much of the Swartland Independent wines as you can and cellar them. In years to come you will be the envy of your friends.

    Alison Sussex | 25 July 2015

    I think the Silwervis is fabulous and will buy it again. Did anyone else get zoo biscuits on the nose?

    I also like the Mount Abora Saffraan. I don’t think 100% Cinsault is for everyone, but it is fresh, different and intriguing, and will attract followers.

    Greg Sherwood MW | 25 July 2015

    Quite simply, whether you think 90 points is correct or not, or a “high” score or not, wines of this quality, made in such small quantities with attention to detail, are in my opinion, actually cheap at R275pb. We need to face up to the fact that as a spoilt for choice producing nation, most SA consumers are cheapskates and don’t like paying for quality. But that will change when all the good stuff gets exported and become “unicorn” wines in the local market. SA consumers will mature over time. In Spain, Italy and Portugal, locals also used to refuse to pay proper prices for top quality wines… Now they are some of the biggest consumers of their own icons. I think the same will occur over time in SA. With out having sufficient foreign benchmarks for locals to compare our best quality SA wines to, they just don’t know how cheap our good wines really are. Enjoy this phenomena while it lasts.

    Krige Visser | 25 July 2015

    Christian, I could not agree more with Dr Jamie Goode: if I had the resources I would tie up as many old Cinsault vines as possible.Conceptually, Mount Abora’s Saffraan Cinsaut was created in my mind somewhere around 2008 when I was gifted a bottle of Le Verre de de Poètes 2006 from a New York wine importer. This wine is made from Pineau d’Aunis or so called Chenin Noir from the Loire Valley and is made naturally with an alcohol level of 12.5%. The style is somewhere between a serious Beaujolais and Pinot Noir, and ultimately in line with Saffraan – especially the maiden and current vintage of 2014.As an experiment into the charms of Cinsault, Bertus Albertyn and Corné Marais at Avondale – where I worked with them at the time – made a batch of whole-bunch fermented Cinsault (and picked at not even 23 balling) in 2007 from a neglected vineyard between Paarl and Malmesbury.My “suspicion” about the potential of old Cinsault bush vine was confirmed when I drank – on my own – a bottle of pristinely cellared SFW Stellenbosch Cinsaut 1974 Gebiedswyn, labeled as Soft Dry Red. I enjoyed this next to the official residence of Jacob Zuma on a posh hill in Durban (to borrow from Jack Nicholson’s line in A Few Good Men). The wine was alive in 2010 when I opened it and reminded me a lot of older Burgundian vintages.And so I was lured to the Swartland in 2011 where I set out with Stompie Johan Meyer and later Pieter de Waal to make the Pinot Noir of the Swartland, thus proving to ourselves that bright, luminous and intriguing wines were indeed possible from not only Cinsault grapes, but also in what is generally regarded as a “hot area”.

    Udo | 24 July 2015

    From an agent/importer perspective. I would never ever buy in a Cinsaut wine at this price. It would become more or less € 30,- in Europe. There is not a lot of 100% cinsaut around, but you can buy a Chilean cinsaut from 50 year old vines for € 15,95 in a wineshop in Holland: De Martino / Viejas Tinajas Cinsault 2013.
    So pricing reflects the small production but nothing else.

    I do think cinsaut has a future in SA, blended or not.

    Christian | 24 July 2015

    Some further thoughts about Silwervis 2014 and Cinsaut in general:

    1. I rated the Silwervis 2014 90/100 – the equivalent of excellent, which is to say better than good but not outstanding. It was a complete blast to drink but any extra points and I’d be guilty of “score inflation”.

    2. Regarding price, I have no real beef. I’m quite sure the market will absorb the total production of 900 bottles at R275 and if it keeps a special vineyard in the ground, so much the better.

    2. It’s early days when it comes to new-wave Cinsaut. Let’s not expect, too much, too soon. Here our experience with Chenin Blanc comes to mind: there are now plenty of top-end examples which are unquestionably world class (worthy of scores of 93 and above) but it’s taken some 20 years to get to this point.

    3. We need to guard against the myth that the reds of the 1960s and 1970s which are showing so well now were some kind of wonder-blend of Cab and Cinsaut and nothing else. Other varieties also featured and I suspect winemaking technique was as much a factor as anything.

    4. Cinsaut is in decline but it is still our 11th most planted variety with 1 902ha in the ground at the end of 2014.

    5. My guess is that where Cinsaut will really shine is as a blending component rather than as a single variety wine.

    John Hartley | 24 July 2015

    Until we as South African’s start paying good money for good wine, we will see more and more vineyards pulled out to plant other fruit that can bring in greater yields at greater prices. If we want to keep them in the ground, we have to pay for what is in the bottle. I think you are right Elias, 90 points should justify the price be it Cab or Cinsaut.

    Jamie Goode | 24 July 2015

    Christian you have a great palate and I respect you greatly, but on this you are wrong. This wine is worth the money and Cinsault is one of the world’s great warm climate varieties. If I had the money or the backing I would be looking to lease or buy as many old cinsault vineyards as I could get my hands on.

    RyanTheWineGeek | 24 July 2015

    Hi Christian,

    Thanks for tasting the wine and thanks to everyone who has commented so far.
    I find Cinsault to be a hugely exciting grape.
    It has a way of expressing site almost effortlessly and with a sense of transparency and purity. It can make very clear wines and clarity in wine is something we value.
    Like Poulsard in the Jura the wines from Cinsault are charming in youth but have an uncanny ability to age and pick up complexity as they do so.
    A bottle of 1972 Chateau Libertas tasted recently was singing. Still intact structurally and providing so many layers of intrigue that drinking it was a hugely heady experience, think still primary cherry fruit but coupled with earth, dried leaves, dried fruit and even a a light brush of tannin. Properly complex. Some of the most fun I’ve had with mature South African wine.
    Last year a 2009 Pofadder while still undoubtedly charming on the surface had a sense tightly wound power that at that stage showed no sign of even starting to unwind, a wine that you can drink now and for the next 15 years would be my humble guess.
    Like Chenin it seems to has a very close connection with our land and produces wines with an inherent balance.
    Silwervis is about celebrating paradox, about celebrating grapes that were once regarded as workhorses in “bulk wine” areas showing their ability to make wines of character
    Cinsault plantings are in decline and I think we need to protect and celebrate them and that starts with us valuing the grape.

    Elias | 24 July 2015

    Speaking as a consumer I think a wines quality should justify the price. May it be a cincaut or cabernet. R275 for a 90 point wine not out of proportion in my honest opinion but maybe if I try it my opinion will change.

    Smirrie | 24 July 2015

    Christian was playing devils advocate !

    Gareth O’Brien | 23 July 2015

    I had the pleasure of drinking this wine recently, it’s incredibly intreguiging, being a non South African resident, I can agree that it’s price point ” might not be alot in an international context” but would you sooner I spend 275 Zar on a mediocre blend?, as I certainly have done. It’s horses for courses, Cinsault has a lot to offer for South Africa, especially from an international perspective, wines like this should be encouraged,

    Johnson | 23 July 2015

    Daft question sir (“how exciting can this grape be on its own”)!
    A bit biased there are we not? Any reason why you cannot judge the wine as it is? Perhaps you do not understand lighter style and floral flavoured wines. It is quite okay to admit it. But do not shame it. How do you yourself go about judging Gamay for instance (Cru Beaujalais that is) for instance? (I forgot, we do not see most of those in SA. I guess what I’m saying is stop measuring single Cinsaults by stock standard Saffer yardsticks and let your palate do the walking to some strange shores for a change). Do you want to blend it with something, what.? Will it soften Cab or give fruit to Pinot? What, what? I agree on the price, but then if Cab or such blends can go for R900 plus, then Bob’s your uncle isn’t it?

    Jonathan Snashall | 23 July 2015

    I guess with so few wines like this (elegance, balance, restrained yet intense), there is an arguement for the price, but there should be more wines like this out there, which will no doubt happen as the backlash against big wines continues but until then you can probably get away with this sort of pricing me thinks.

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