02 December 2017

Christiaan Groenewald is 2017 Diners Club Winemaker of Year

Christiaan Groenewald has won Diners Club Winemaker of the Year for his Eagles Cliff ‘Arendskloof’ Pinotage 2017.
Christiaan Groenwald
This is the second win for Christiaan; he won in 2013 when the category was Non-Bordeaux with Arendskloof Tannat Syrah Voetspore 2011.

The story is covered in The Citizen.

Congrats to Christiaan.

 Picture courtesy Diners Club

01 December 2017

Beyers Truter is a Wine Legend

South Africa’s official wine industry body, Wines of SouthAfrica, have labelled Beyers  (‘Prince of Pinotage’) Truter as a Wine Legend.
Beyers Truter
An article by Malu Lambert tell of Beyers life from university days and the co-incidence that saw him become Kanonkop’s winemaker.

Beyers said the turning point for Pinotage was when they won The Robert Mondavi Trophy for International Winemaker of the Year. “That was the first year I used new oak with Pinotage.  I learnt the technique from Frans [Simonsig]  Malan—who was doing it way before me.”

“In the beginning of the Absa Top 10 Pinotage there were about four wines we could really put at the top—but these days, we could change the name to the Absa Top 30 Pinotage. There has been such a massive shift in quality—and it’s clear to see that winemakers are truly in sync with their terroirs.”  

Read the full story here.

Photo of Beyers Truter courtesy wosa.co.za

30 November 2017

WoTM - Rijks Private Cellar Pinotage 2009

 My Wine of the Month for November is Rijks ‘Private Cellar’  Pinotage 2009,  from Tulbagh. 

It’s been too long since I visited the winery; I recall enjoying a pleasant lunch from their restaurant outside on the terrace and a tasting afterwards with winemaker Pierre Wahl.

Some years before that I’d walked over some unprepossessing scrubland with owner Neville Dorrington as he pointed out where he was going to plant new vineyards. The accepted wisdom when I first went to the Cape was that Tulbagh was too hot to ever make good wine. Luckily Neville ignored the gainsayers and with the skills of Pierre Wahl and his team have been turning out consistently excellent wines, especially Pinotages.

My Wine of the Month is the 2009 vintage, mature and ready for drinking when I bought I bought it last year and scrummy now.

A touch of brown on pouring, in the glass it’s opaque black-red. A classic Pinotage, with a sweet cedar wood nose, ripe damsons and cherries on the palate. Mouthfilling, classy and smooth as silk, tannins are there but barely noticeable. It has a lingering finish, with a hint of white pepper and  typical Pinotage sweetness. Delicious. 

17 November 2017

Kanonkop Triumphs Again at IWSC

Kanonkop do it again!

Kanonkop Estate’s co-owner Johann Kriger and winemaker Abrie Beeslaar come to London this week to collect the Abraham Perold Pinotage Trophy at the International Wine and Spirits 2017 awards ceremony held on Wednesday 15 November at London's historic Guildhall. 
Peter May presented the Abraham Perold Pinotage Trophy 2017 sponsored by The Pinotage Association to Abrie Beeslaar in the prescence of IWSC President Chris Blandy (right)
The Pinotage Trophy was presented to Abrie Beeslaar by Peter May representing The Pinotage Association, sponsors of the Trophy, and IWSC President Chris Blandy, for the Kanonkop Estate Black Label Pinotage 2013.
Abrie Beeslaar with the Abraham Perold Pinotage Trophy awarded to Kanonkop Estate Black Label 2013
Kanonkop also won South African Wine Producer of the Year and Abrie Beeslaar was awarded IWSC International Winemaker of the Year for an amazing third time, following successes in 2008 and 2015, and Kanonkop also won the Perold Trophy in 2015.

That wasn’t all. Kanokop Estate won a total of four Gold Outstanding medals, three Gold Medals and seven Silver Outstanding.

Pinotages did well with Gold Outstanding achieved by Kanonkop Estate Black Label 2013 and Spier 21 Gables 2014. 

There were five Gold medals, 16 Silver Outstanding plus two Cape Blends, and 32 Silver medals, plus two Cape Blends and one Pinotage dominated sparkling wine.

The Trophy winning wine

12 November 2017

Bellevue's Pinotage from 1953 Planted Block

Bellevue Estate have released a single vineyard Pinotage made from their  old bush vine Pinotage block planted in 1953 by Pinotage pioneer P K Morkel. 

Previously fruit from this old vineyard had gone into the PK Morkel and other bottlings.

The wine is called 1953 after the year PK planted 2.58 hectares of Pinotage. The following year he added another 3.23 hectares. In those days wines made at Bellevue were sold to Stellenbosch Farmers Winery. It was in 1961 SFW released Bellevues 1959 vintage Pinotage label under their Lanzerac brand, and the rest is, as they say, history.

PK's nephew, viticulturist Dirkie Morkel, looks after the vines today and Wilhelm Kritzinger is the winemaker.

The grapes for the “1953” Pinotage 2016 were hand-picked from the 63 year old bush vines at optimum ripeness. After fermentation and regular pump overs in stainless steel tanks, the wine was matured for 18 months in small French oak barriques. 

“This is a classy Pinotage with great pedigree and heritage,” says Morkel. “Its nose is packed with aromas of plums and maraschino cherries. This follows through on the palate, showing serious refinement, purity of fruit and great complexity and length. The mouthfeel and finish convey integrated, fine-grained tannins partnered by concentrated fruit flavours which linger.”

The wine costs R545 at the cellar.

Bellevue is the last of the four oldest Pinotage vineyards to release such a wine. Uiterwyk has long made 'Top of the Hill', Meerandal were the first to officially register a single vineyard, 'The Heritage Block', and more recently Kanonkop has their 'Black Label' Pinotage.

I've walked Bellevue's original Pinotage block with Dirkie and now I'm looking forward to tasting it.  

11 November 2017

Graham Beck Game Reserve Pinotage Winona's Wine of Week

Graham Beck 'The Game Reserve' Pinotage 2014 is the Wine of the Week pick by Winona Daily News columnists Chris and Sherry Hardie.

Chris and Sherry Hardie

Sherry says it has  a
“ tannic blend of violet floral notes with cherry, raspberry and pepper with subtle nuances of clove on the finish.” 

while  Chris finds a
“ bouquet of leather and cinnamon with cherry fruit, clove and prominent tannins.”

Chris and Sherry are also winemakers and owners of Brambleberry Winery and Country Inn in Taylor, Wisconsin, where they make wines from juice sourced from around the world. But not Pinotage, yet.


07 November 2017

Pinotages Deserving Top Dollar

The always readable Emile Joubert, posting at Wine Goggle, argues that premium Pinotage is South Africa's trump card in international markets and that it is there premium Pinotages that will be accepted at high price points whereas consumers expect South African wines that duplicate others to be cheaper. 

He roots for two different expressions of the variety: 

Ashbourne 2015 "....an awe-inspiringly sensual drinking experience, heady flavours and visceral tastes held together by a perfect palate-weight of silk, scented body oil and eagle feathers. All brilliance, and a show-stopper in any language and any price." 


-Kanonkop 'Black Label' 2016 "possibly the most accessible vintage to date. ....chic and refined riffs of classy wine made from the variety. In the centre of the gentle tannins lies a fruit-core exuding sun, life and warm Simonsberg mountain rock. A bit of all-spice on the edges gives a Gevrey character, and a forest floor presence can be detected while feasting on the orchard bearing firm juicy cherries..."

Read the full article at The Wine Goggle