Recommendations · Wine

Phil’s Weekend Wine Tip: Blank Bottle Koffer 2016 (Blackrock Cellar €32)

This week I took a recommendation from Blackrock Cellar home in the form of Blank Bottle Winery’s Koffer 2016. This is a wine made from 100% Cinsault, which is a grape I have little experience with. It produces light to medium bodied red wines and is a component of some Rhone wines. Along with Pinot Noir, it is a parent to South Africa’s very own Pinotage.

The name Blank Bottle comes from an experience that winemaker Pieter H. Walser had in 2004, according to the Blank Bottle website. A woman came to his home, which at the time doubled as his office, looking to buy some wine. She asked for anything except Shiraz, as she didn’t like it. Pieter gave her a glass of wine to try, which she loved and bought 3 cases of the stuff. This wine was, of course, Shiraz and from then Pieter has made wine that has no indication of its varietal on the label. “Clothes maketh not the man, judge my wines on what’s in the bottle, not what’s on the label” is the first line you read when landing the website.

Pieter’s Koffer wine is made in the vein of one of the first wines he ever tried, Tassenberg, a well known wine in South Africa, which invoked images of fresh strawberry fields in Pieters imagination. This wine does exactly that on the nose and palate, although when I first opened this up I thought it was a dud bottle. It took a good couple of hours for any flavours or aromas to start to show on this wine, but when they did I was in for a real treat.

Light in colour, as the Cinsault grape produces large berries leaving less ratio of skin to juice, the Koffer 2016 is a delicate and beautifully made wine. The aromas of strawberry, raspberry and cranberry are complemented by white pepper and vanilla. All these red fruits and spices follow through onto the palate and are accompanied by the slightest hint of oak. This wine is beautifully structured with all the flavours working together in harmony, which is a fantastic surprise for such a young wine. There’s ample acidity as well, which makes this wine fresh and easy to drink, even with a hefty 14% alcohol.

This is a great wine to sip throughout the evening, but would also be an absolute dream match with any gamey meats, especially duck breast with a red wine and cranberry sauce.


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