31 January 2016

WoTM - Rijk's Private Cellar 2009

My Wine of the Month for January 2016 is Rijk’s Private Cellar Pinotage 2009.

It was one of the wines in my wine tasting club’s annual blind tasting competition, and this particular bottle is the  ‘runners-up’ prize we enjoyed with dinner the evening afterwards.

Rijk’s do make excellent Pinotage. I recall when they started planting some pundits said Tulbagh was too hot to make fine wine. They were wrong and Rijk’s have proved it.
This  maybetheir basic Pinotage (their 2011 Reserve has 5 Platter stars and is a 2015 Top 10 Winner) but it’s darn good. Rijk’s tend to release their wines with a little bottle age, and this 2009 is currently available in the UK.

I loved its seamless combination of fruit and tannins. It’s a real food wine, straight down the core with no wild edges. Suave and sophisticated. 

17 January 2016

Abrie Beeslaar 'My Doctor Friends Want to be Winemakers'

Abrie Beeslaar

South Africa’s News 24 has an  interview with Abrie Beeslaar on winning Winemaker of the Year at the 2015 International Wine and Spirit Competition.

The article discloses that Abrie went to London to accept the trophies SA Producer of the Year, and  Best Pinotage trophy for the Kanonkop Pinotage 2012, (see  here but he didn’t know until it was announced at the IWSC gala dinner that he had won Winemaker of the Year Trophy.

Abrie says he switched to studying for a BSc in Agriculture after failing to make the cut to study medicine.  He says “I am so happy about my career path. I look at my friends who studied to be doctors and they all want to become winemakers now.” #

Read the full interview here.


31 December 2015

WoTM - SAAM Mountain Vineyards Pinotage 2013

My Wine of The Month for December 2015 is SAAM Mountain Vineyards Pinotage 2013.

 I  often choose it at Chez Mumtaj which features French-Asian fusion cooking by talented owner-chef Chad Rahman. But no more.

I visited this month with a group of friends and asked for a bottle of the Saam Pinotage before seeing the wine list. It wasn’t too long before we requested another bottle but the wine menu no longer had Saam. The waiter told us that there were only three more bottles in the cellar. We took that as a challenge and there were none left in the cellar when we departed.

We were told their supplier no longer listed Saam, which surprised me as Bibendum (one the UK's biggest wine companies) is their supplier and Saam was a joint project between Bibendum on the marketing and distribution side, and Perdeberg Winery on the production, as I wrote here.

Saam Pinotage was an excellent pairing with Chez Mumtaj’s innovative cuisine. Opaque almost black in the dim restaurant light, with a berry nose and restrained dense blackberry flavours. There’s spice and that inherent Pinotage sweetness that goes so well with spicy food, also soft tannins to give body and a good length.

Farewell Saam…

17 December 2015

Wine Enthusiast Picks Lovingston Pinotage

Wine Enthusiast’s tasting team were asked to recommend American wines to have with Thanksgiving. 

Alexander Peartree, Assistant Tasting Director, chose Lovingston’s 2013 Gilbert’s Vineyard Pinotage from Virginia, which he says “seamlessly balances racy red-fruit tones with savory herbs and smoky game. It’s easy to pair alongside the cornucopia of dishes on the table, yet it also lends an exotic kick to an otherwise traditional affair.”

Read the article here.


14 December 2015

After 25 Years Dave Eckert Gets Pinotage

Dave Eckert didn’t take to Pinotage when he first tasted it in the 1980’s. But now he’s found three that impress enough to feature on his Thanksgiving table. 

“Now I know why they created Pinotage all those years ago. It’s just took me 25 years and three new bottlings to figure it out,” he writes in the Kansas City Star.

The three are Kanonkop, Simonsig and Stellar, although the article doesn’t mention their vintages.

Dave Eckert is the producer and host of “Culinary Travels With Dave Eckert,” shown on USA's PBS-TV and Wealth TV for 12 seasons.

Read the article here

30 November 2015

WoTM - Anura Pinotage Reserve 2011

My Wine of the Month for November 2015 is Anura Pinotage Reserve 2011, a very satisfying classic Pinotage with a fine sturdy core, sweet berry fruit edge and just a trace of mocha.

Anura is a bit off my radar, they dont seem to be available in the UK so theyre not the first producer that comes to mind when I think Pinotage, but I’ve enjoyed the few I’ve encountered and they have always impressed. Ill get some more when Im  in the Cape in a couple of months time.

I wasn’t the only one to be impressed with this vintage, as it was a worthy Top 10 winner in 2013.