When eating at a South African restaurant, it’s obligatory to drink Pinotage. I am really digging this grape as the winemakers have transformed it from lazy plonk to good quality table wine. Originally derived by crossing Pinot Noir and Cinsault varietals, it is only grown in South Africa. This particular one was ordered to go along with some rather awesome Ribeyes. Dark purple in the glass, it gave off the telltale notes of plum and oak. On the palate, the plums and spice give way to black currants and a decent grippy finish of dryness from the tannic structure. Medium acidity round the package out and I must say it was a good balance for the steaks. It can be found for about $15 and I rate it 87 points with a 3 star medal. Salut….
This bottle was brought to the weekend retreat by my mate, we’ll call him Johnny. He originally introduced me to Pinotage and I have been a fan ever since. This particular bottle is a ‘Private Collection’ from Stellenbosch that could be had for $25.
Dark and lurking in the glass it offered up generous fruit on the nose. On the first taste it was different from other Pinotages- more serious, complex and richer. I instantly thought of black fruits and figs. Rich oak and a delightful tannin backbone are interlaced with some great acidity. The wine blossomed and offered up some secondary flavors of licorice and earth. A thoroughly enjoyable wine that kicked the flank steaks into high gear. If you have some spare cash and want to broaden your reach, Pinotage is becoming a must-try in my book, this example being rather terrific. 90 points and 5 stars from me. Salut….
A strange varietal only really grown in South Africa, it is growing on me. This wine is dark purple with a brooding thick nose of cherry, kirsch and tobacco. On the palate, very tannic right now, but not obnoxious. I get black berry and some vanilla that is integrating well with the oak. It’s funny how this wine hides its 14% alcohol so nicely (see previous post) yet is in balance and provides good acidity. A well made wine that I am about to enjoy with Roast Pork Tenderloins. 91 points, and 5 stars in my book. If you are looking to expand your wine knowledge, search out this produced and varietal.
An indigenous South African grape that had bad press for many years- Spier has made the climb from the ‘bad wine abyss’ and is on track to make Pinotage a formidable variety. Crossed between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, you can only find it in SA. During Apartheid, the varietal took a slide in quality and reputation. It’s been a battle ever since, but I have faith. I have had other Spier Pinotages, this being their entry-level offering.
On the nose, bing cherry in syrup. On the palate, I can feel heat amongst the plum and cedar shavings. Weighing in at 14.5%, I’m a little surprised. Tannins are evident, giving this wine a structure to evolve for at least 5 years. I would love to re-taste in a few years as I feel it will evolve towards earthy minerality, which excites me. For the price, a definite 4 star wine. If I were a pro, probably 88 points. Juicy, go and try some…..
Honestly, my first experience with this varietal, and I was blown away. Rich, fruity, balanced with a hint of some serious tannins. Unfortunately, I was half-gubbed by the time we got to it so my memory is vague. I will say that I was impressed, and the pro’s only gave it 87. A quick search yields a price of up to $14, a steal if you can find it. A 5 star wine in my opinion that delivers a nice mouthfeel, great nose and a balanced finish. In my mind, it should be a 90 pointer. Wish I could find some…