30 June 2019

WoTM - Spier Seaward Pinotage 2017

My Wine of the Month for June is Spier ‘Seaward’ Pinotage 2017.

Spier makes  excellent Pinotage , especially their top of the range 21 Gables.

Seaward comes in a tall heavy deeply punted bottle. It was lighter bodied than I expected, but had some lovely red cherry flavours and spiciness. There was a waft of cedar wood on the nose.

There is no information about Seaward Pinotage on Spier’s website which says “Spier has spent the last two years developing a unique duo of wines that pay homage to the benefits of growing grapes along the coast. The aptly titled Seaward range is comprised of a sophisticated, lightly-wooded Chardonnay and a layered, spicy Shiraz.”

It also says “The Seaward range will be exclusively available from the Spier wine shop from May onwards, and in stores from July 2019” which is strange because I bought this in May from Majestic in the UK, and a Seaward Cabernet and Chenin are also on the UK market. 

Seaward Pinotage is priced about two-thirds of the cost of 21 Gables, and double the cost of the Signature Pinotage.

22 June 2019

Pinotage Puddings

There’s something sweet in the air, and it’s Pinotage.   This week has seen two recipes, both featuring Pinotage, from wineries about as far distant as possible.

First is Delheim Pinotage Salted Chocolate and Berry Ice Cream by Elmarie Berry who says “we absolutely love this no-churn ice cream; it is super easy to make and you will get goose bumps with every bite. Great flavour complexity and texture and the best of both worlds! 

Elmarie's recipe is here. 

From the View Winery, in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley on the north west of Canada, owner  Jennifer Turton-Molgat makes trifle from her prize winning  Pinotage Rosé.

Jennifer enjoyed her Nana’s special Sherry Jelly with whipped cream at Christmas or New Years Eve. She says 

“although we found the Sherry flavour somewhat potent as children, my brothers, sisters, cousins and I still relished the dessert. 

With the transition of our family orchard into grapevines and winemaking it seemed only natural to try using wine instead of sherry in Nana’s recipe. Pinotage Rosé is one of my personal favourites. Its vivid strawberry notes and mouth-watering acidity make a delicious, flavourful jelly.”

The View Rosé has won multiple gold awards nationally and been awarded Best Rosé at the Best of BC Wine Awards 2011.

The recipe for Jennifer Turton-Molgat Nana’s Pinotage Rosé Jelly  is here. (as reported by Jennifer Schell for Vernon Info News) 

(Image courtesy Delheim)

31 May 2019

WoTM - Stoneboat Solo Pinotage 2007

My Wine of The Month for May is Stoneboat Vineyards 'Solo'2007. This is a selection of the best five barrels of Stoneboat's already excellent Pinotage. 

Stoneboat is located at the southern end of Okanagen Valley, in British Columbia,  near the border with the USA which is geographically part of the Sonoran desert. 

It's sandy soil, so the vines grow on their own roots. Sometimes winters are so harsh that a vine is killed, but as they are on their own roots, rather than grafted, a new shoot soon appears and the vine regrows. 

Cold winters also means that Stoneboat are the only winery to have made a Pinotage ice-wine. According to VQA rules, grapes for ice-wine can  be picked only after three consecutive 24 hour days with temperatures below -8 Celcius. 

The cork on this wine crumbled and I was lucky to get it all out of the bottle.

The wine was  showing its age, with subdued tannins but offering  pure red cherry flavours. A delight.

Read about my trip to Stoneboat in 2011 here.

21 May 2019

LIWF and Reverie Pinotage 2015

To the London International Wine Fair, where I found dapper Johan Krige pouring his full range of Kanonkop wines, including the delicious ten year old 2009 Pinotage. 
David Sonnenberg (owner Diemersfontein) and Dann de Jongh (winemaker at Contantia Uitsig)

David Sonnenberg of Diemersfontein poured his coffee Pinotage, the sleek Reserve Carpe Diem and – new to me – Harlequin Shiraz-Pinotage blend.

Harlequin showed how Shiraz and Pinotage make such a complementary pairing.

Also new to me was Reverie Pinotage 2015. This is the label of Jacques de Klerk whose day job is winemaker at Radford Dale. Up to now Reverie has solely focused on Chenin, a variety loved by Jacques so much his email and Twitter handle are Chenin. This was his first Reverie Pinotage and it was made by the carbonic maceration, a technique most commonly found in Beaujolais.

The wine was fresh, light bodied and pale coloured and I could see the Beaujolais connection; a nice luncheon wine

It’s probably not coincidence, but Radford Dale’s ‘Winery of Good Hope’ label also produce a carbonic maceration Pinotage and one of the vineyards they use the grape from is in Voor Paardeberg.

17 April 2019

Tim James tastes 50 years of Meerendal Pinotage

Tim James attended a celebration  at Meerendal Estate to mark the 50 years since the first bottlings under the estate name and visited the old Pinotage vineyard planted in 1955.

Six hectares of bushvines that now provide grapes for the Meerendal Heritage Block Pinotage – the bottles bearing the Old Vines Project Heritage seal. It’s the oldest extant vineyard in Durbanville and one of the oldest pinotage blocks in the country.

Read the full article published at WineMag.co.za here.

To read about my visit last year and to see a video of the winemaker in the old vineyard click here

13 April 2019

Pinotage is a terrific calling card - Steven Spurrier

“Pinotage is a terrific calling card for South Africa ­– it can be what Malbec is to Argentina or Carménère to Chile. Pinotage and Chenin Blanc are your door-openers” stated Steven Spurrier in an interview with Anton Pretorius in the January 2019 edition of South African wine industry magazine WineLand.

Steven Spurrier is perhaps most famous for organising the tasting between to French and California wines in Paris in 1976 which became known as ‘The Judgement of Paris’ and later made into the movie Bottle Shock. He’s a respected wine expert, writer, director of The Christie’s Wine Course and consultant editor of Decanter magazine.

Note1: At time of posting the article was not on WineLand's website.
Note2: The film Bottle Shock bears little relation to reality.


31 March 2019

WoTM - Beyerskloof Synergy 2017

My Wine of The Month for March is Beyerskloof Synergy 2017 WO Stellenbosch.

I enjoyed many superb wines in the Cape during March. De Waal's Top of the Hill 2015, especially when tasted in the vineyard, Vin de Francois 2017 at its launch, Neethlingshof ‘Owl Post’ 2017, Delheim’s ‘Vera Cruz Estate’ 2016 and ‘Vleiland Vineyard’ 2015,  Môreson ‘The Widow Maker’ 2015, Flagstone ‘Writer's Block’ 2016 and Lanzerac ‘Pionier’ 2014 to mention but a few.

So why Synergy? It was a revelation. It is a wine I thought I knew well, and one I’ve oft bought back home at Sainsbury’s supermarket.

But this 2017 vintage wine in the Cape is a blend of six varieties. To the usual trio of Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot is added Shiraz, Pinot Noir and Cinsaut. 

And what, apart from the taste, makes it so desirable to me, is that I found that I can’t buy it back home. When I made a special journey to Sainsbury’s they had Beyerskloof Synergy 2017 but this is a different bottling. It differs in having only the first three varieties and is WO Western Cape. 

So Synergy 2017 WO Stellenbosch it is, with its fresh brambly fruit and spicyness and underlying structure. Completly satisfying.