04 July 2008

Inkspot - Darling of Origin ~ Darling by Nature

I've been reading Oscar Foulkes blog as he tells of his travels around the world marketing Cloof wines, so it was good to meet him at last in London.

Cloof are in the Swartland region in an area around the village of Darling that achieved Wine of Origin Ward status in 2003. Darling of Origin ~ Darling by Nature is now Cloof's slogan.

I visited Cloof some years ago and was shown around by winemaker Christopher van Dieren who came from Belgium. I'm glad to say he's still there and has come up with some interesting new wines, including The Very Sexy Shiraz , The Dark Side Cabernet/Shiraz , 'a wine with curves where others don’t have places' and Inkspot Vin Noir.

"We're having fun," Oscar told me, "if you can have vin rouge, why not vin noir?"

Cloof Inkspot Vin Noir 2005
And intensely black this wine is. It is 78% Pinotage, 12% Shiraz, 10% Cinsaut. The oldest vines were planted more than forty years ago. Oscar says the bush vines are not irrigated and thus their roots descend more than 8 metres looking for water, and yield less than a litre per vines. Add to that, 30% of the Cinsaut juice was removed before fermentation (it went to make a pink wine) and you get a concentrated wine. I'm getting a tannic nose, and powerful mouthfilling flavours of liquorice, smoked meats and macerated cherries with some wood tannins on the finish. "There's a lot of structure from the Pinotage," says Oscar, who tells me that Platter awarded it 4 stars in the 2008 guide.

Cloof seem to have a pretty slick sales operation, the wines are widely distributed, and you can buy through their websites in South Africa and the UK. I'm presenting more tastings soon and I think I'll try ordering from the UK site. Inkspot retails at around 45R in ZA and £8.99 in the UK.

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