The plight of South Africa’s rhinos and elephants is well-known, but the near demise of one of its iconic wine grape varietals is less well-documented. Once the most widely planted red grape in the Western Cape, the country’s wine-growing region, cinsault (often spelled “cinsaut” in South Africa) vineyards were ripped up by the thousand in the second half of the 20th century as the inward-looking apartheid-era wine industry focused on darker grapes. In 2009, just when extinction was starting to feel inevitable, a band of rock-star winemakers breathed new life into an old, long-maligned grape.
Detailed data collected by the South African Wine Industry Information & Systems goes back only to 1989, when the uprooting was already well underway, but the statistics show the area of cinsault vineyards plummeted from nearly 6,000 hectares that year to a mere 2,100 in 2009. That was when Eben Sadie, 2017 winner of the international Winemakers’ Winemaker Award, produced his first vintage of the now-legendary Sadie Family Wines Pofadder (after the deadly puff adder) — the wine that started the cinsault revolution.
Full article & source: https://www.ozy.com/around-the-world/once-the-poor-mans-pinot-this-south-african-red-is-back-in-time-for-the-weekend/80360/