31 July 2022

WoTM - 2017 Laibach


My Wine of the Month for July 2022 is 2017 Laibach Pinotage 

Every time, and there weren’t many, that I’ve had Laibach before it’s been bought in the Cape because most of the output exported from this fine organic estate goes to Germany, where the owner comes from. 

But this year Mr Laibach sold the winery in April and retired to Germany. Near neighbours Kanonkop Estate are the new owners and they immediately renamed the place Ladybird Vineyards, so this may be the last Laibach labelled wine I’ll have.

I was excited when I found this wine in a nearby independent wine shop. This bottle was a solid traditional style Pinotage although I thought it was lacking the excitement I remember from previous vintages. 

It  will be interesting to see what comes under new ownership. Farewell Laibach.


10 June 2022

The First UK Pinotage

 In June 2018 the first commercial Pinotage vineyard was planted in England, see here.

Now the first Pinotage wine has been produced from those vines, and Michelle Cheyne visited the vineyard to taste it, read her article - The First UK Pinotage.

31 May 2022

WoTM - Fort Ross Pinotage 2007

My Wine of The Month for May is 2007 Fort Ross Pinotage Fort Ross Vineyard (California, Sonoma Coast)

The cork split and my Butlers’ Friend didn’t help, some of the cork had fixed itself to the glass; the rest of the cork fell into the wine. I poured it through a small mesh strainer which collected most of the cork so only tiny grains were on the wine in a decanter.

I’d bought this estate wine from the winery in December 2012; the owners Lester and Linda Schwartz said they didn’t release their wine until it was aged and was ready to drink, but I  decided to keep it for a couple more years. Then I forgot about it. So was I too late?

No doubt it would have been good drinking a few year ago, but - boy - this was enjoyable. It had the tremendous sweetness of Pinotage berries and a smooth seriousness of aged wine. We drained the decanter.

Read about my visit to Fort Ross here.

(Since we were there, the small Fort Ross-Seaview AVA has been created which Fort Ross winery is now in. The Schwartz's were instrumental in getting the AVA registered.)


30 April 2022

WoTM - Durbanville Hills Pinotage 2018 The Promenade Collectors Reserve


My Wine of The Month for April is Durbanville Hills Pinotage 2018 The Promenade Collectors Reserve.

The wine was closed with a DIAM, printed to match the label. The wine was deep ruby red with flowers of the forest on the nose. In the mouth it had a tangy violet richness, with cedarwood on the finish. A delightful wine.

The front label bore a witty picture by artist Theo Paul Vorster

Irritatingly the winery website has only factsheet for their latest vintage, and not the one currently on sale here.

31 March 2022

WoTM - Abraham and the Heretics 2018

My Wine of The Month for March is Abraham and the Heretics Pinotage 2018. I first came across this wine in 2015 at a tasting, but this year I was able to buy it from owner run wine ship Dylanwad in  Dolgellau, Wales. It was the only Pinotage they had. 

Abraham and the Heretics is created by Richard Kelley MW (above) for  importer Dreyfus Ashby and made by Villiera Winery. 2013 was its first vintage. Richard Kelley is known for his Liberator range.

It felt light but was full bodied, lush and smooth with bright berry flavours and just a sight hint of coffee. Very enjoyable and just 13.5% abv.

Richard told me in 2015 “Abraham and the Heretics is something of a tongue-in-cheek challenge to Pinotage non-believers to accept the variety into their vinous lives”

28 February 2022

WoTM - Kanonkop Estate Pinotage 1990

 I've enjoyed several Pinotage this month that were candidates for Wine of the Month, most notably a stunning Spier 21 Gables 2016, but a three nights before the end of the month I was in the midst of moving wine to its new location and decided it was time to open a 1990 Kanonkop   rather than store it away again as the maturation chart on the back label showed it reaching its peak in 2002.

Thus my Wine of the Month for February is - Kanonkop Estate Pinotage 1990 (Stellenbosch).

The cork was spongy and a chunk of it dropped off the bottom and fell into the wine which was gorgeous. Yes, it was aged and the big fruit flavours had gone but it offered delicate fruits and gentle Pinotage sweetness. Usually Mrs M doesn’t go for aged wines and I was prepared to open a more recent wine, but she loved this. And so did I.

And while drinking it I was thinking that 32 years ago its grapes were probably fermenting in Kanonkop's Kuipes.

Note: It’s W.O. Stellenbosch only because it was made before the Simonsberg-Stellenbosch ward - which the estate vineyards are in - hadn’t been created at that time.

08 February 2022

Delheim Pinotage Rosé is wine expert's Valentine tip

Matthew Nugent in The Irish Sun says "I’m a wine expert and these are the top ten wines to treat yourself and a loved one to this Valentine’s Day. Now something light, pink, and possibly sparkling, are the go-to wines to pop on February 14"

The second wine listed is Delheim's Pinotage Rosé about which Matthew Nugent says:

"This pale, salmon pink Rosé has long been a house favourite. Red fruit notes dominate on the nose while the lively palate has excellent acidity and an explosion of red berries in the mouth."