17 September 2017

Delvera - Delheim's New Entry Level Wine Brand

Delvera is ‘a new concept, entry level’ brand range to be introduced by Delheim winery in conjunction with Muse Wine Agency.

I tasted both Delvera Pinotage 2017 and Delheim Pinotage 2016 at Intrepid London. Delvera has less wooding, is bright purple and is approachable, light bodied but with some grip on the finish.

Delheim Pinotage 2016 is tighter than the Delvera with sweet fruit backed by wood with grip on the finish. I was told it spent 14 months in small and large French oak barrels. It has probably just been bottled, as according to Delheim’s website the 2015 was bottled in September 2016 and the 2014 in October 2015. There’s no sheet yet for the 2016 vintage.   .

Delvera is merges Delheim and Vera, Vera being the wife of Delheim’s patriarch Spatz Sperling. 

Vera is also referred to in Delheim’s top single vintage Pinotage, Vera Cruz –   Vera’s cross being Spatz! The 2015 Vera Cruz Pinotage needs more time as it is still tight and closed and I reckon this also has just been bottled.

Delvera is also the name of Delheim’s nearby agri-village on the R44  with  shops, arts & crafts and restaurants.

The Delvera label pictured above is a mock-up prepared for the show and is not   finalised. I don’t know the meaning of the sheep, but I do know Delheim’s Pinotages make a good partner for lamb recipes.  


15 September 2017

Olifantsberg Family Vineyards Pinotage 2016 with winemaker Elizma Visser

To Kensington’s Olympia for Wines of South Africa’s annual Intrepid exhibition. Last year the weather was so hot ice melted faster than it could chill wines, this year was cool with heavy outbreaks of icy rain.
Elizma Visser
At Olifantsberg Family Vineyards stand I listened in to winemaker-viticulturist Elizma Visser (above) explaining their philosophy which is to “pick early, do wholeberry fermentation and try not to over-extract,” to an enthusiastic audience.  Elizma  is in her third year at Olifantsberg, previously she worked at Waverly Hills and Bilton.

I can’t recall encountering Olifantsberg before so I was keen to try a wine new to me. Their 2016 Pinotage from a 10 year old trellised mountain-side block was an approachable 13.5% abv, and tasted of fresh fruits with raspberries and cherries to the fore. 

There was no noticeable oak, but Elizma told me that, after natural fermentation, it spent 10 months in small and large barrels but fewer than 10% were new.

The wine is an attractive light bodied fruit-forward luncheon Pinotage.

But I am a bit confused because although the wine is listed as 100% Pinotage on the Intrepid catalogue, the fact sheet for this wine on Olifantsberg website says it is blended with 14.8% Cabernet Sauvignon and has an abv of 12.9% while the fact sheet on their UK agents Hallgarten Druitt and Novum says abv is 14%. 

While the label is allowed a leeway on alcohol as they’re often printed before the wine is finalised, I’d expect to find matching information on the winery and importer websites.


13 September 2017

Spioenkop’s Koen Roose Interviewed

Spioenkop were the first to plant Pinotage in the Elgin Valley and they are the only in the area producing Pinotage. Inspired by Pinotage guru Francois Naudé, co-owner – winemaker  Koen Roose planted Pinotage in 2008 because, he says, “it’s my biggest passion.” He aims for Pinotage “that is fresh and delicate, with medium, balanced alcohol levels”, a style that he calls new-wave

Malu Lambert visited Spioenkop to interview Koen Roose for winemag.co.za; read the full interview here and for more, see Koens own view of his new style Pinotage here.


31 August 2017

WoTM - Remhoogte ‘Bush Vine’ Pinotage 2015.

My Wine of the Month for August is Remhoogte ‘Bush Vine’ Pinotage 2015, an estate wine from Simonsberg-Stellenbosch. 

I’ve not had many Remhoogte wines but I’ve enjoyed all that I’ve encountered. The estate is on the R44 just north of Stellenbosch and as I recall you can observe zebras in the neighbouring game park from the tasting room.

Unfortunately their wines don’t appear to be available where I live and I brought this bottle home with me from my Cape visit earlier this year.

It is robed with a garnet and sweet fruit with underlying power and an oak creaminess. I can’t find any details of this wine on their irritating website but according to the back label this is  hand harvested from 2 hectares of bush vines. Wild yeast fermentation is in 7000 litre open topped French oak vats and the wine aged for 18 months in French oak barriques. 

Delicious and a perfect example of how classic Pinotage should be.

04 August 2017

2017 Winners- Pinotage Top 10 Competition

Winners of the 21st Pinotage Top competition were announced yesterday, 3 August, with the presentation of trophies at Cavalli estate near Somerset West in the Cape. They were, in alphbetical order:
  • Delheim Pinotage 2012, WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker Altus Treurnicht
  • Diemersfontein Carpe Diem Reserve 2015, WO Wellington, Winemaker Francoise Roode
  • Flagstone Writer’s Block Single Vineyard Pinotage 2015, WO Breedekloof, Winemaker Gerhard Swart
  • Kanonkop Estate Pinotage 2012, WO Simonsberg-Stellenbosch, Winemaker Abrie Beeslaar
  • Lanzerac Pionier Pinotage 2014, WO Jonkershoek Valley, Winemaker Wynand Lategan
  • Môreson MKM 2015, WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker Clayton Reabow
  • Neil Ellis Bottelary Hills Pinotage 2015, WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker Warren Ellis
  • Stellenbosch Vineyards Bushvine Pinotage 2015, WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker Abraham de Villiers
  • Wellington Wines La Cave Pinotage 2016, WO Wellington, Winemakers Francois van Niekerk & Chris Smit
  • Windmeul Pinotage Reserve 2015, WO Paarl/Coastal, Winemaker Abraham van Heerden  

The panel of judges were Neil Ellis of Neil Ellis Wines (chair), wine educator and consultant Nomonde Kubheka, winemaker Corlea Fourie of Bosman Family Vineyards, Francois Rautenbach of Singita Premier Wine Direct, viticulturist Stephan Joubert of Douglas Green Bellingham (DGB).

Beyers Truter, chair and founder of the Pinotage Association, said 

“One of the objectives in creating the Absa Top 10 Pinotage competition was to improve the quality and perceptions of this lovely, uniquely South African wine, and, looking at the standard of the finalists this year as well as the degree to which Pinotage has been embraced, we are definitely on the right track. Pinotage is a grape that needs special viticultural and winemaking techniques. It can be tough and demanding, but when you get it right the rewards are astonishing, world-class masterpieces” 

Beyers Truter  thanked Absa, sponsor of  the competition, as the Pinotage Association’s long term “partner in wine”and “a crucial part in the expansion of our beloved Pinotage.”

There were 147 entries in the 2017 Absa Top 10 Pinotage competition, and with around half of the 21 finalists and six winners from Stellenbosch wineries. 

It was a first time win for Stellenbosch Vineyards. The other nine have multiple wins under their belt, with Kanonkop Estate making 2017 a record twelfth win.  

For the first time producers were invited to also submit entries in a Museum Class  for  wines 10 years and older.  

Neil Ellis Vineyard Selection Jonkershoek Pinotage 2007

Runners- up
Neethlingshof Pinotage 1999
Rijk’s Reserve Pinotage 2007
Lanzerac Pinotage 1992

Congratulations to all.