Old Vine Series.
13% alc. "
It's a Swartland thing", notes Sadie of Tinta Barocca (note the S.A. spelling with one r and two c's), which arrived in South Africa from the Douro and has found an opportune home in the Western Cape. Historically, Tinta das Baroccas (the earlier spelling) has always played a prominent role in Swartland's red blends, though interest in the variety--particularly from the old, dry grown vineyards--has really spiked in recent years. This vineyard, planted in 1974 and located next to the old railway line (treinspoor), lies 4 km west of Malmesbury on decomposed granite and sandstone. Sadie notes of this site that while the very fragile, thin skin of Tinta Barocca is prone to sunburn, the old bush vines keep the bunches sheltered from the intense Swartland sun.
Sadie likens his Treinspoor to a sort of stylistic cross between Northern Rhône Syrah (blackberry/currant fruit, plushness and nettles) and Piemontese Nebbiolo (spice, florals, acidity and tannins). That pretty much nails it. It's certainly a wine of great energy and drive, with its dark and inky core surrounded by layers of pretty, red fruit and florals all wrapped in fine, powdery tannins. Fermented in concrete and raised for 12 months in foudre, it's an outstanding, idiosyncratic red of great beauty and character. "The 2017 Treinspoor is pure Tinta Barocca, which Eben opined is the most exciting grape at the moment, matured for one year in foudres.
It has a very well defined bouquet, almost Barolo-like, with touches of dried flowers and rose petal. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin and wonderfully balanced, creating real tension from start to finish and featuring touches of bay leaf and tea leaf toward the poised but sustained finish.
Superb." 93 points, Vinous, August 2018