18 September 2019

No More Vin de Francois Auctions

For the past 11 years Le Vin de Francois has been launched with an auction where all the bottles were sold. The only way to get this wonderful wine was by bidding or from someone who had a winning bid.

Francois Naudé with his wine
Now Francois Naudé has decided that in future "I will dedicate my time to bringing Le Vin de Francois to many more people" he has written to auction attendees.

The wine will now be released "on a particular date", but details of when this will be, and how and where to buy the wine are yet to be announced.

08 September 2019

Forbes Reviews 7 Pinotages


John Mariani, Senior Contributor at Forbes Magazine says ‘More Quality Wines from South Africa Enterthe Global Market’. By ‘global’ he means the US market, and in a two part article he reviews the following Pinotages, priced from $12 to $58.

Beeslaar Pinotage 2017

Southern Right Pinotage 2018

Ashbourne Pinotage 2016

Lievland Pinotage 2017

M.A.N. Family Wines Pinotage 2017

Ken Forrester Petit Pinotage 2018

Backsberg Pinotage Rosé 2018



He says “I find that so many are so well priced and that Pinotage is so critical to the country’s viniculture means that it is now expressive of individual vintners’ own style.”


Part 1

Part 2

31 August 2019

WoTM - Leeuwenkuil Family Vineyards ‘Definition’ Pinotage 2018


My Wine of the Month for June is Leeuwenkuil Family Vineyards ‘Definition’ Pinotage 2018.




Definition is a label of Majestic Wine Warehouse in the UK. They say ‘Definition sets out to capture the quintessential qualities of the world's greatest wine styles. If you want to meet the most famous and revered styles, regions and grape varieties then this is the place to start.’ 


Pinotage is a tricky variety for to claim you’ve captured the ‘most famous and revered style’, as there are many interpretations and the variety is young enough that one style has yet to be accepted as standard. Of course, that’s what makes Pinotage exciting.



The advantage for a retailer of an own label is that they can put marketing effort into their brand while changing supplier, and some Definition wines don’t reveal who actually produces the wine behind the label.


But this wine, the first time that Pinotage  has appeared under the Definition label is clearly shown as being produced and bottled by Leeuwenkuil Family Vineyards. It is Wine of Origin Voor-Paardeberg and has the Wine  & Spirit Board seal on its neck.



It’s a screw capped bottle and on opening gave juicy blueberry nose. It was warm and inviting, with a lovely deep colour and depth of fruit flavours underpinned by a hint of dark chocolate. This is a well made wine that just slips down, and just 13.5% abv.



Majestic’s website says this wine had extra skin contact, and the back label says the fruit came from old bush vines, but what – if any – wood treatment it had we don’t know. It doesn’t appear in Platter and Leeuwenkuil’s website is ‘under construction’.


30 August 2019

2019 Cape Blend Winners


The five winners of the 9th annual Perold Absa Cape Blend Competition are:

Asara Vineyard Collection Cape Fusion 2016
WO Stellenbosch: Shiraz, Pinotage, Malbec
Winemaker – Janette van Lill.
Clos Malverne Spirit of Malverne Limited Release 2015
WO Stellenbosch: Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Malbec. 
Winemaker- IP Smit.
Kaapzicht Steytler Vision 2017
WO Stellenbosch: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Merlot. 
Winemaker – Danie Steytler.
KWV Abraham Perold Tributum 2012
WO Coastal Region: Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Petit Verdot, Petit Sirah
Winemaker – Izélle van Blerk.
Wildekrans Cape Blend Barrel Select Reserve 2016

WO Botrivier: Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Shiraz. 
Winemaker – Braam Gericke

The winners were announced yesterday, 29 August 2019 at a prize ceremony at Lanzerac Wine Estate in Stellenbosch.

This is a record sixth win for KWV Abraham Perold Tributum. 
And Wildekrans will be celebrating as the only ones to win both the Absa Top 10 Pinotage and Perold Cape Blend competitions this year

Judges were: Convenor Wilhelm Pienaar (Hermanuspietersfontein), Janno Briers-Louw (Eenzaamheid), Samarie Smith (Benguela Cove), Nataleé Botha (Kleine Zalze) and Heinrich Kulsen (Nederburg). 

The rules have been amended with effect from the 2019 vintage that Pinotage should be the major component of the blend which must be between 30% and 70% Pinotage.


Pinotage Rose Winners 2019



Winners of the third   Pinotage Rosé competition, announced yesterday, are:

Alvi’s Drift Signature Pinotage Rosé 2019
Winemaker – Dr. Alvi van der Merwe
Beyerskloof Pinotage Dry Rosé 2019
Winemaker – Anri Truter
Landskroon Blanc de Noir Pinotage Off-Dry 2019
Winemaker – Michiel du Toit
Windmeul Pinotage Rosé 2019
Winemaker – Abraham van Heerden


Anri Truter of Beyerskloof was also a winnee in this years Absa Top 10 Pinotage Competition with his Wine Maker's Reserve 2017.

The judging panel was: Wilhelm Pienaar (Hermanuspietersfontein), Janno Briers-Louw (Eenzaamheid), Samarie Smith (Benguela Cove), Nataleé Botha (Kleine Zalze) and Heinrich Kulsen (Nederburg).

23 August 2019

Cape Blend and Pinotage Rose 2019 Competition Finalists


The ten finalists in the 9th annual Perold Absa Cape Blend Competition are:

Asara Vineyard Collection Cape Fusion 2016
WO Stellenbosch: Shiraz, Pinotage, Malbec. Winemaker – Janette van Lill.
Beyerskloof Faith 2016
WO Stellenbosch: Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot. Winemaker – Anri Truter.
Clos Malverne Spirit of Malverne Limited Release 2015
WO Stellenbosch: Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Malbec. Winemaker- IP Smit.
Flagstone Dragon Tree Cape Blend 2017
WO Western Cape: Pinotage, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mataro, Pinot Noir, Malbec. Winemaker-Gerhard Swart.
Kaapzicht Steytler Vision 2017
WO Stellenbosch: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Merlot. Winemaker – Danie Steytler.
KWV Abraham Perold Tributum 2012
WO Coastal Region: Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Petit Verdot, Petit Sirah. Winemaker – Izélle van Blerk.
Cape West Cabernet Sauvignon/Pinotage 2018 (Namaqua Wines)
WO West Coast Region: Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemaker – Reinier van Greunen.
Rooiberg Winery Reserve  Cape Blend 2015
WO Robertson: Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz. Winemaker – André Scriven
Wellington Wines La Cave Cape Blend 2016
WO Wellington: Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz. Winemaker – Francois van Niekerk
Wildekrans Cape Blend Barrel Select Reserve 2016
WO Botrivier: Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Shiraz. Winemaker – Braam Gericke

From these ten, 5 winners will  be announced on 29 August 2019 at Lanzerac Wine Estate in Stellenbosch. 

This year the rules have been amended. While a Cape Blend must be between 30% and 70% Pinotage, from the 2019 vintage Pinotage should also be the major component.

Judges are: Convenor Wilhelm Pienaar (Hermanuspietersfontein), Janno Briers-Louw (Eenzaamheid), Samarie Smith (Benguela Cove), Nataleé Botha (Kleine Zalze) and Heinrich Kulsen (Nederburg).
 


The third year of the Pinotage Rosé competition has  more than doubled the entries with 26 wines this year. The four finalists are:

Alvi’s Drift Signature Pinotage Rosé 2019
Winemaker – Dr. Alvi van der Merwe

Beyerskloof Pinotage Dry Rosé 2019
Winemaker – Anri Truter
Landskroon Blanc de Noir Pinotage Off-Dry 2019
Winemaker – Michiel du Toit
Windmeul Pinotage Rosé 2019
Winemaker – Abraham van Heerden

Congratulations to all.

19 August 2019

Diemersfontein launch Prodigy, an everyday Pinotage

Diemersfontein has added a new wine to their Pinotage portfolio.

Joining the original ‘coffee & chocolate’ Pinotage and the serious age-worthy Carpe Diem is The Prodigy Pinotage.

The Prodigy is fermented in stainless steel tanks with minimal oak influence. “We had a particular fruit-driven style in mind for The Prodigy and we didn’t want oak to dominate the wine, only to give it a little bit of structure and backbone,” said cellar master Francois Roode, “it’s a lighter fruit-driven style for everyday enjoyment.”  

Also new is the label of the popular ‘coffee & chocolate’ Pinotage which has been redesigned and titled “The Original”.

Ex farm, the Prodigy is priced at 75R, the Original at 127R and Carpe Diem at 230R 

The 15th year of Diemersfonteins’ ‘Pinotage on Tap’ celebration of the latest Pinotage vintage still has three dates this year to attend in South Africa – 24 August in Gauteng, 28 September at Diemersfontein and 2 November in Clarens. Details here.



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15 August 2019

2019 Pinotage Top 10 Winners



Winners of the 2019 Absa Top 10 Pinotage Competition were announced last night at an awards function at Boschendal. They are:

Anura Reserve 2016
WO Simonsberg-Paarl (Anura), winemaker Stander Maass

Badsberg  2018
WO Breedekloof (Badsberg Wynkelder), winemaker Henri Swiegers

Beyerskloof Winemaker’s Reserve 2017
WO Stellenbosch (Beyerskloof Wyne), winemaker Anri Truter

Diemersdal Reserve 2018
WO Durbanville (Diemersdal Landgoed), winemaker Thys Louw

Fleur de Cap Series Privee  2016
WO Coastal Region (Distell – Fleur du Cap Wines), winemaker Pieter Badenhorst

Kanonkop Estate 2015
WO Simonsberg-Stellenbosch (Kanonkop Wine Estate), winemaker Abrie Beeslaar

Overhex Survivor 2017
WO Swartland (Overhex Wines International), winemaker Ben Snyman

Simonsig Redhill  2017
WO Stellenbosch (Simonsig Landgoed), winemaker Debbie Thompson

Vondeling Bowwood 2016
WO Voor Paardeberg (Vondeling Wines), winemaker Matthew Copeland

Wildekrans  Barrel Select Reserve 2016
WO Botrivier (Wildekrans Wine Estate), winemaker Braam Gericke


This is the 14th win for Kanonkop, the 9th win for Beyerskloof and the 8th for Diemersdal.


Beyers Truter, chairman and founder of the Pinotage Association, highlighted that Pinotage’s quality continues its upwards curve and that the market for wines made from this cultivar continues to grow – locally and abroad. He said:

“The exceptional quality of the wines we’re seeing year after year shows us that producers, viticulturists and winemakers are pulling together. In the end it’s all about being in touch with one’s terroir. Absa shares this opinion and has been a partner of the Pinotage Association for more than two decades. They also share our long term vision, which is one of Pinotage prospering worldwide.

What I also find particularly encouraging is the variety of styles possible with Pinotage. This year the extraordinary spread of winners hail from six wine regions, each with their unique style, character and challenges. Our young winemakers are a brave bunch and are pushing the boundaries of what their respective regions can offer in terms of not only quality, but also diversity.”




Museum Class Trophy Winners (wines older than 10 years)
Fairview Primo Pinotage 2007
WO Coastal origin (Fairview), winemaker Anthony de Jager

Hill & Dale Pinotage 2007
WO Stellenbosch (Hill & Dale), winemaker Guy Webber

Rijk’s Private Cellar Pinotage 2009
WO Tulbagh (Rijk’s Cellars), winemaker Pierre Wahl