Highlights: Natte Valleij P.O.W. 2017, WO Simonsberg-Paarl, South Africa

Natte Valleij’s old cape Dutch buildings have seen a lot of history, including housing a prisoner of war who was captured and exiled to the Cape during WWII. He most likely contributed to the farm’s farming and winemaking while living in the cottage that winemaker Alex Milner calls home. The inscription P.O.W. B.T. 27/12/1943 is the fighter’s only mark. In his honour, Milner created this limited release wine, his take on a SA Bordeaux blend. In 2017, this was 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, aged 36 months in large oak, and from vines tucked near the Simonsberg Mountain, in the WO Simonsberg-Paarl. This sultry, savoury, saline big red coaxes from first whiff, with ample black raspberry, wild black cherry, kirsch, anise gliding the full, silken palate, textured with finely grippy spices, worked leather, iron, and dried mint. The whole is framed with long, integrated tannins and buoyed with an effortless acidity, taking this to the kirsch scented finish. Such an unexpected, graceful, beauty, though I shouldn’t be so surprised about a wine made from Mr. Cinsault, Alex Milner. 93/100

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Treve Ring

Treve Ring is a wine writer and editor, judge and speaker, and perpetual traveller. [She is also Correspondent Anorak.]