There are few marketing exercises that have given me as much pleasure as launching Cloof’s Bordeaux-style blend Lynchpin to the British media … at a chateau in Bordeaux! Not only was the wine offered en primeur (a la Bordeaux), but I also put together a mini-conference entitled “Is the New World killing Bordeax” AND I got Bordeaux producers to participate (read about the event in more detail here). Not exactly the Procter & Gamble or Unilever approach to marketing.
Over the years I’ve drunk more than my fair share of 2005 Lynchpin (so named because of the “critically important” role played in the blend by Cabernet Franc). I see no reason to stop now; especially after the bottle I opened two nights ago, which was my first Lynchpin in about two months.
Clearly, I’m not an impartial commentator when it comes to Lynchpin. I worked with winemaker Christopher van Dieren in putting together the blend, I created the brand concept, and until December was employed full-time at Cloof. Having said that, my opinion is based upon a very intimate relationship with the wine. However highly regarded and experienced the people who have tasted Lynchpin in wine shows, or for wine publications, they have never spent more than a few seconds in its company.
I ask you this question: if you need a reference on a prospective employee, do you ask someone who knows them well, or the stranger who greeted them while crossing the road that morning?
I should add that this is not the style of wine that one would expect to win gold medals on wine shows, so a brief encounter in a crowded line-up may not leave the same impression as a more over-the-top wine would.
Here’s the description I wrote for the 2005 Lynchpin a few years ago:
All the taut elegance to be expected from Cabernet Franc, the tart richness of Merlot, and the take-no-prisoners power of Cabernet Sauvignon. Barrel maturation took place in French Oak, of which about 75% was new, giving the wine a very classic, well-balanced tannin structure. The aftertaste lingers for a good while, ending in a lip-smacking, appetite-inducing freshness.
All of that is still true, but with the extra time in bottle the wine has also now mellowed. The balance is still fabulous, and it is truly the most gorgeous wine to drink.
The best deal available for Lynchpin is at Redblends.co.za, where you can get it – effectively for free – as part of a six-pack of Cloof blended reds. Four of the six wines in the pack were awarded Four Stars in the Platter Wine Guide (yes, the stars are the products of a brief interaction between wine and taster!). The cost of the pack – R259 – must be one of the wine industry’s great bargains, with Lynchpin playing a ‘key role’ in delivering that value.