29 September 2016

World First Pinotage Cask Whisky

The world’s first Pinotage Cask finished whisky will be released in October to coincide with  World Pinotage Day,  

Distiller Andy Watts  says it’s “truly the pinnacle of my career.”

The Three Ships 15 Year Old Pinotage Cask Finish is a blend of 15 year old malt and grain whiskies distilled and matured separately at the James Sedgwick Distillery in Wellington, Western Cape. Both the malt and grain whiskies spent the final years of their maturation in unrinsed Pinotage casks. 

It is said to be “Light in style, prominent cherry, plum, tropical fruit and the typical Pinotage earthy notes reveal on the nose. The palate is clean with hints of the banana and pineapple ending with a lingering warm finish.”

Only 4,000 bottles have been made, with 500 being sold by online auction on 5 October with the rest being available to buy from 8 October (World Pinotage Day) from the distillery, duty free shops and selected retaillers. 


28 September 2016

Neethlingshof 'Owl Post' 2014 Pinotage Wins IWSC Trophy

Congratulations to De Wet Viljoen and his team for winning the 2016 International Wine & Spirit Competition Abraham Perold Trophy for Pinotage with Neethlingshof Owl Post Pinotage 2014. 

The Abraham Perold Trophy for Pinotage is sponsored by The Pinotage Association.

The International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) , now in its 47th year, awarded Gold Medals to the following Pinotages/Pinotage Blends

  • Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage 2011    
  • Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage 2013                
  • Diemersfontein Carpe Diem Pinotage Reserve 2014 (Outstanding)                           
  • Neethlingshof Owl Post Pinotage 2014 (Outstanding & Trophy)                             
  • Romond Rebus Cape Cuvée 2011 (Blended Red - Pinotage dominated)

And Silver Outstanding Medals to

  • Bellingham The Bernard Series Bush Vine Pinotage 2014
  • Beyerskloof Faith 2011(Blended Red - Pinotage Dominated)                     
  • KWV The Mentors Pinotage 2014          
  • Painted Wolf The Den Pinotage 2014
  • Wildekrans Pinotage Barrel Select Reserve 2014
  • Rooiberg Winery Pinotage Reserve 2015

A good showing for Beyerskloof, who won a total of 19 medals.

IWSC say
South African Wine Farms were awarded an astounding 30 Gold medals, and 9 Gold Outstanding. Unusually, of all awarded wines, 24% were Silver Outstanding, 53% Silver and only 18% Bronze. Usually the larger proportion are awarded Bronze medals, highlighting how high the standards are for this set of South African wines.

Highlights include a Gold Outstanding  Diemersfontein Wines  for their Carpe Diem Pinotage Reserve, which judges called ‘elegant and classy’.

Full results are available online at

27 September 2016

Welgemeend Sparkling Pinotage 2016

Welgemeend Sparkling Symphony Pinotage 2016

This fun fizz is fluorescent pink and froths invitingly in the glass. It’s a 100% Pinotage, 12.5% abv, sweet with around 30g/L residual sugar and made by the ‘Technique Contemporain’.

Unfortunately the bubbles dispersed almost immediately, and to me a glass without a stream of rising bubbles isn’t a fizz

Despite the back label  describing this as a ‘classic bubbly’  Technique Contemporain is Welgemeend’s own name for carbonation.

I think this needed more pressure to retain bubbles, but it has no pretensions other than as a party wine and it looks very pretty.


22 September 2016

Riebeek's Kasteelberg 2013 and Pieter Cruythoff 2014 Pinotages

I’ve followed Riebeek Cellars, located in the now fashionable Swartland, for a long time. They are large volume producer making value wines that exceed expectations, and they also encourage their team to act like boutique winemakers by making separate small lots and experimenting.

Riebeek were showing two Pinotages at WoSA’s London  Intrepid show. 

First up was Kasteelberg 2014 of which only 22 barrels were made. This is a handmade wine, in that vine blocks destined for it are personally identified and selected by the winemaker, the grapes are picked and sorted by hand then pressed in a hand powered basket press. First and second fill barrels are used then the wine is hand bottled, hand corked and the labels are stuck on by hand. They say they avoid shaking the wine by using these  gentle  methods. 

Surprisingly little of this information is mentioned on the labels.

Kasteelberg Pinotage 2014, named after the castle shaped mountain seen from the winery. has soft sweet fruit and subtle flavours. It shows a restrained elegance and a European feel. A handsome wine in all respects.WO Swartland 14% abv.

Pieter Cruythoff Middlepos Pinotage 2013 is from a single vineyard named Middlepos planted with bush vines between 30 and 40 years ago.  This is more expressive than the elegant Kasteelberg, older style and more gawky. The label, named after the founder of Riebeek Cellars, was created for an American importer but  I believe is now also being distributed elsewhere.

So, two quite different expressions of the variety; of the two I was taken with Kasteelberg tho' maybe  Cruythoff was at a disadvantage by being tasted immediately after.