04 November 2018

American Wine Society National Confernec 2018

To Buffalo, New York State, for the American Wine Society 51st annual National Conference.

Flying into Buffalo. On left is Canada, right is USA, at bottom is Lake Erie. In middle is Grand Island. The two rivers merge at top of picture to plunge over Niagara Falls.

Buffalo is on the banks of Lake Erie a few miles from Niagara Falls. It’s the home of Buffalo Wings and the sliced beef filled kimmelweck roll ‘Beef on Weck’.

The venue was the Hyatt Regency Hotel and Buffalo ConventionCentre. 500 AWS members, plus exhibitors and presenters attended, the furthest being two winemakers from Slovenia. Slovenian wines were one of the sponsors and the Slovenian ambassador  travelled up from New York City to give a witty speech to us over dinner while we tasted wines from his country.

On Friday 2 November I spoke about and presented five  South African Chenin Blancs. My session on Saturday 3 November was Pinotage. Thanks to the generosity of importers and distributors, I was able to show the following fine wines:

Backsberg Rosé 2018
Survivor 2016
Kanonkop Estate 2016
Simonsig ‘Redhill’ 2014
L’Avenir Estate Single Block 2015  

Details of the contributors, their wines and links to wine fact sheets are on the AWS 2018 tab at the top of this site.

This was one of the wines accompanying the Grand Banquet  and a perfect match for the delicious Filet Mignon


31 October 2018

WoTM - Diemersfontein 'Reserve Collection' 2015 Pinotage

My Wine of the Month for October is Diemersfontein 'Reserve Collection' 2015 Pinotage.

This is exclusive to Woolworth in South Africa which is where I got it.

Diemersfontein is famous for its popular 'coffee and chocolate' Pinotage which they invented, but they also make the superb traditionally styled 'Carpe Diem' Pinotage.

Though this has been, according to the back label, especially blended for Woolworths by their wine expert Allan Mullins, it's in the same camp as Carpe Diem.

The wine is intensely coloured with a spicy nose. It's soft yet there's welcome structure of tannin on the finish. It offers flavours of cream and cherries, there is a hint of chocolate and an overall delicious spicyness. A lovely wine.

13 October 2018

Today is Pinotage Day

Today is International Pinotage Day

What will you be drinking?

04 October 2018

Lovingston 10 Vintages of Pinotage Tasting

Lovingston Winery, near Charlottesville, Virginia, are holding a vertical tasting of their  estate-grown Pinotage on Saturday, Oct. 6th from 11am-5pm. 

10 vintages from 2006 onwards will be poured. There are limited quantities of most years, so they suggest arriving early.  

For questions, please email Stephanie at info@lovingstonwinery.com or call 424-263-8467.


30 September 2018

WoTM - Beyerskloof Faith 2009

My WoTM for September is Beyerskloof 'Faith' 2009 Cape Blend. This is presented in a statement bottle with deep punt and weighing 1.2Kg when empty, more than a full bottle of their standard wines. The word Faith dominates the label, with Beyerskloof in small grey letters in the bottom corner. Run your fingers over the yellow italics to feel a rough surface. The name is created crushed gravel from Beyerskloof's vineyards.

2009 is a blend of 37% Pinotage, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon,27% Merlot and 3% Shiraz. After 9 years bottle aging this is a complex smooth delight. Pinotage sweetness tempered by the Cabernet and Merlot, with its spicyness enhanced by Shiraz. It's lightfooted despite its 15% abv, thrillingly linear with plenty of spicy blackberry and red plum fruits.

A truly delicioius food wine.

Technical fact sheet is here.

As well as Beyerskloof's faith in their terroir, Faith is the name of a charity set up by Beyers Truter to combat Foetal Alcohol Syndrome. See http://faithfund.co.za/

12 September 2018

Beyerskloof Wins IWSC Pinotage Trophy 2018

Beyerskloof has won the 2018 IWSC  Pinotage Trophy, sponsored by the Pinotage Association,  for Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage 2014  which IWSC judges praised for its “great concentration of flavours on the palate, silky smooth texture, and long finish with a hint of chocolate”.

La Cave Pinotage 2017, WO Wellington, won Gold Outstanding and Gold medals were awarded to De Grendel Amandelboord Pinotage 2016, WO Durbanville and Wildekrans Estate Pinotage 2016, WO Bot River

Beyerskloof's Faith,WO Stellenbosch, Cape Blend won Gold Outstanding for the 2015 vintage and Gold medals for its 2014 and 2011 vintages. 

Congratulations to Anri and Beyers Truter, the Beyerskloof team and all the winners

All the medal and trophy winners are listed at https://iwsc.net/result/search

31 August 2018

Cape Blend 2018 Competition Winners

Winners of the 2018 Perold-Absa Cape Blend Competition,  presented by the Pinotage Association and Absa are:

KWV Abraham Perold Tributum 2014
WO Coastal: Shiraz,  Pinotage, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon,  Petit Sirah. Winemaker Louwritz Louw.
Leipzig Master Blend 2017
WO Western Cape : Pinotage, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot. Winemaker: Vian Bester.
Lyngrove Platinum Latitude 2016
WO Stellenbosch: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Shiraz. Winemaker:  Danie van Tonder.
Pulpit Rock Louisa Reserve 2014
WO Swartland: Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Petit Verdot. Winemaker:  Dewald Huisamen.
Wildekrans Cape Blend Barrel Select Reserve 2015
WO Botrivier: Pinotage, Shiraz , Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir . Winemaker: Braam Gericke

Runners up: 
Anura Signature Cape Cuveé 2015
WO Paarl: Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz . Winemaker: Stander Mass .
Beyerskloof Faith  2015
WO Stellenbosch : Pinotage , Cabernet Sauvignon , Merlot . Winemaker:  Anri Truter.
Blake’s  Amethyst 2016
WO Swartland : Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Petit Verdot. Winemaker: Christoph Blake
Pulpit Rock Louisa Reserve 2015
WO Swartland: Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Petit Verdot. Winemaker: Dewald Huisamen .
Wellington Wines – La  Cave Cape Blend 2016
WO Wellington: Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz. Winemaker: Francois van Niekerk.

The judges were Jacques Roux (marketing director of DGB), Fred Viljoen and Johan Malan (proprietors and cellarmasters at Viljoensdrift and Simonsig respectively), Susan Erasmus (Laffort), Brad Gold (CWM) and winemaker Guy Webber.  

This the eighth year of the competition and there were 51 contestents. A Cape Blend must consist of 30-70% Pinotage, all 5 winners included Cabernet Sauvignon in their blend.  

De Wet Viljoen, vice-chair of the Pinotage Association, said the competition is a testament of the bright future of Cape Blends. He added that the quality of the finalists this year was truly phenomenal and the wines show balance, elegance and structure that will carry the wines with aging.  Winemakers spend a lot of time and compassion to create their blends and the fact that these wines are sold at premium prices also indicate the seriousness of the wines. 

Congratulations to all.