13 October 2017

Postage Stamp Features Pinotage

The South African Post Office has produced a set of five small international letter rate stamps and a commemorative envelope as tribute to the South African wine industry.

One stamp (left) pictures the first commercially released varietal Pinotage, the 1959 Stellenbosch Farmers Winery 'Lanzerac' brand.


The stamps were by designed by Rachel-Mari Ackermann of the SA Post Office.

The stamps cost R45.75 for a set of five and a commemorative envelope costs R48.75.  The stamps are available from all major South African post offices and can be ordered from sa.stamps@postoffice.co.za.

More information here

The set of the stamps are shown at 

https://www.postoffice.co.za/Philately/2017/wine1.html


.

08 October 2017

Delheim's Spatz Sperling Dies

Michael 'Spatz' Sperling
Sad news. Michael 'Spatz'Sperling, patriarch of Delheim Estate, died today 8 October of natural causes.

Spatz produced the first Rosé Pinotage in 1976, he played a major role in several wineland initaitive, including the Stellenbosch Wine Route in 1971, the country's first wine route and was instrumental in developingthe Wine of Origin system.

Spatz's story is told here

The news of Spatz's passing was announced by Delheim as follows:


The South African wine industry has lost a pioneering icon in the passing of the legendary Spatz Sperling, patriarch of Delheim Estate and co-founder of the Stellenbosch Wine Routes, who died of natural causes at the age of 86 on 08 October. Delheim will close today at 15:00 as we celebrate his life and cherish all the good memories with loved ones. We will not be answering emails or phone calls for the rest of today. 

No ordinary octogenarian, Michael Hanz 'Spatz' Sperling, a German-born vintner who arrived in the country in April 1951 as a 20 year old World War II refugee, has built Delheim into one of the most enduringly popular and successful wine destinations in the Cape over the past half century. Over the years this family-run wine farm also became a microcosm of Spatz's visionary work in the greater Stellenbosch community and the Cape Winelands as a whole.

Spatz, who coped admirably with Parkinson's disease the last few years, was not only a craftsman of superior wines, but introduced numerous 'firsts' and left an indelible legacy in the Cape Winelands.


Today we toast his pioneering spirit as we pay homage to the great visionary, husband, father and grandpa he was. It is with very heavy hearts that we have to say goodbye, but we are thankful that he is no longer in pain and at peace.

Rest in peace, Spatz.

07 October 2017

Pinotage Day is Saturday 14 October

It's just a week to International Pinotage Day on  Saturday14 October.

If you are in South Africa there are many Pinotage Day events in the winelands and the Leriba Hotel, Centurian between Pretoria and Johannesburg  are holding a Pinotage Week with  alunch and tastings tomorrow, Sunday 8th  and events every day from the 10 October culminating in a Pinotage and Biltong Festival on the weekend of 14-15 October. 

I'm not aware of any events elsewhere, though Paul Kemp at Loma Prieta winery in California, which is North America's largest Pinotage producer, tells me he is making plans.

I'll be joining in by opening a bottle of good Pinotage! 

 #PinotageDay

Toronto Pinotage Tasting 24 October

The South African Wine Society of Toronto, Canada, is holding a Pinotage tasting on Tuesday 24 October 2017.
 
I'll be there pouring South African Pinotages plus one from Oregon. 

It doesn't seem that three years have passed since I last presented a SAWS tasting in Toronto.
 
For details of the event, list of wines and booking form click here.
 
Hope to see you there!


.

06 October 2017

2017 Top 5 Cape Blends



Winners of the seventh Absa Perold Cape Blend Competition were announced on 4 October 2017. The five equal winners are:


Cape West Shiraz Pinotage Limited Release 2015
Namaqua Wines, WO Olifants River

Idiom Cape Blend 2015
WO Stellenbosch: Pinotage, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz

Lyngrove Platinum Latitude 2015
WO Stellenbosch: 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Pinotage, 23% Shiraz

Simonsig Frans Malan Cape Blend 2015
WO Stellenbosch: 67% Pinotage, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot

Windmeul Cape Blend Reserve 2015
WO Coastal: Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot


The definition of a Cape Blend is a minimum of 30% and maximum of 70% Pinotage.

Pinotage Association chair Beyers Truter said “It’s encouraging to see how winemakers have embraced this challenge by creating unique wines that involve a vast array of styles and techniques.”

De Wet Viljoen, vice-chair of the Association, remarked that the leading examples are testimony to the quality of top South African combos that can represent the country among the best wines anywhere in the world. 

Jacques Roux, convener of the judging panel, concurred, reflecting on diversity of styles and praising the astonishing quality of the 53 entries this year. Cape Blends, he said, are a reflection of the winemaker’s vision, adding that it is delightful to see how they combine different variables to make for world-class combinations.

Absa’s Provincial Managing Executive in the Western Cape, John Tshabalala, commented that Pinotage and Cape Blends are truly unique jewels in the South African winelands. On the subject of Absa’s support, he said that: “This partnership reflects our long-standing commitment not only to the Pinotage Association but to the South African wine industry as a whole.

Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz are popular blending partners for Pinotage;  four of the Top 5 blends  included Cabernet Sauvignon and three Shiraz. 

2017 is a good year for Windmeul who also won a trophy at this years Absa Top 10 Pinotage Awards.

The competition was judged by: Jacques Roux (experienced judge and  marketing director of DGB), Fred Viljoen and Johan Malan (proprietors and cellarmasters at Viljoensdrift and Simonsig respectively), Susan Erasmus (previously winemaker at Vrede en Lust and now at Laffort SA), Brad Gold (Cape Wine Master and head of marketing at Oak Valley) and Marené de Beer (winemaker at Altydgedacht)

Runners up were:
Bosman Family Vineyards Erfenis 2014
WO Wellington: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Cabernet Franc, Shiraz, Merlot, Petit Verdot
Cape West Cabernet Sauvignon Pinotage Limited Release 2015
Namaqua Wines, WO Olifants River

Idiom Cape Blend 2013
WO Stellenbosch: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Cabernet Franc, Shiraz, Merlot, Petit Verdot


Pulpit Rock Louisa Reserve 2014
WO Swartland: Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Petit Verdot

Springfontein Limestone Rocks Whole Lotta Love Cape Red Blend 2015
WO Walker Bay: Pinotage, Shiraz, Petit Verdot


Congratulations to all.


2017 Top 3 Pinotage Rose Wines



This year saw the Pinotage Association’s first competition specifically for Pinotage Rosé wines.

The three wines, equal winners of the Award of Excellence, announced on 4 October 2017, are


Painted Wolf ‘TheDen’ Pinotage Rosé 2017
WO Paarl

Riebeek CellarsPinotage Rosé 2017 
WO Swartland
Rooiberg PinotageRosé 2017
WO Robertson


 “This is a very exciting addition to the competitions focusing on the different expressions of Pinotage,” said De Wet Viljoen, vice-chair of the Pinotage Association. “The winning rosé wines are refreshing and of great quality, reiterating the vision to incorporate and support various styles and market stakeholders.”

Competition judges were Jacques Roux (experienced judge and marketing director of DGB), Fred Viljoen and Johan Malan (proprietors and cellarmasters at Viljoensdrift and Simonsig respectively), Susan Erasmus (previously winemaker at Vrede en Lust and now at Laffort SA), Brad Gold (Cape Wine Master and head of marketing at Oak Valley) and Marené de Beer (winemaker at Altydgedacht).

 Runners up were
Asara Vineyard ‘Collection’ Pinotage Rosé 2017
WO Stellenbosch

Delheim ‘Worth the Journey’ Pinotage Rosé 2017
WO Stellenbosch

Kanonkop ‘Kadette’ Pinotage Dry Rosé 2017
WO Stellenbosch


Congratulations to all.


02 October 2017

Pinotage Tops CWG Auction

Pinotage was in demand at the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild annual auction with Beyerskloof 'Traildust' Pinotage 2015, made by Beyers Truter, reaching the highest average price at R1449 (80 GBP/106 USD) a bottle. Beyers said the wine is a selection of the best barrel aged 21 mnths in new French oak.   


With the third highest average price of R1309 was Kaapzicht Estate 'The Ultimate Vision' 2015, a Cape Blend of  45% Pinotage; 45% Cabernet Sauvignon; 10% Merlot. This was made by Danie Steytler, his final CWG wine as he retires from winemaking at the end of 2017.

Kanonkop CWG Pinotage 2015, made by Abrie Beeslaar was in eighth highest place at R1222 per bottle.


14% VAT  is payable on the prices above.

Thanks to Top Wine SA 
Details of wines are on the CWG  Nedbank Auction Catalogue here
 
Image courtesy of CWG

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.  

.