31 August 2014

WoTM -Stoneboat Pinotage 2008

Beautiful dark bright red colour. First impression is of a luscious silky mouthfeel. This wine is rich, plumptious and spicy. There’s also mulberry with a hint of coffee in the background. A delicious flavoursome wine.

This wine comes from vines growing on their own roots in the sandy desert soils of the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia.

I brought this wine back from my visit to Stoneboat in 2011. To see my report and vineyard videos with the owners see here

 (BTW – take a close look at the bottom of the labels to see the dangers in cutting corners by editing a label from another wine.)

18 August 2014

Pinotage Top 10 2014 Winners

The winners of the ABSA Pinotage Top 10 2014 Competition were announced at a luncheon at Landtscap venue in Stellenbosch on 15 Aug 2014.

They are:

Allée Bleue - 2012  Pinotage
Bellingham  - 2013 The Bernard Series Bush Vine Pinotage
Beyerskloof - 2011 Diesel Pinotage
Delheim - 2012 Vera Cruz Estate Pinotage
Diemersdal Landgoed - 2013  Pinotage Reserve
Rijk's Cellars - 2010 Reserve Pinotage
Simonsig Estate - 2012 Redhill Pinotage
Spier -2012 21 Gables Pinotage
Wildekrans Wine Estate - 2012  Pinotage Barrel Select Reserve
Windmeul Kelder - 2013  Pinotage Reserve

A list packed with solid Pinotage producers with excellent track records. Congratulations to all!

17 August 2014

International Pinotage Tasting - Toronto 26 August 2014

The South African Wine Society of Toronto, Canada, is holding a 'one-of-a-kind' Pinotage tasting on Tuesday 26 August 2014.

I'll be there, and we'll be pouring Pinotages from South Africa, New Zealand, California, Oregon Virginia, Canada,  Israel and Australia.

For details of the event, list of wines and booking form go to http://www.southafricanwinesociety.ca

Hope to see you there!

13 August 2014

Cape Blend 2014 Finalists

Just announced are the 10 finalists for the 2014 annual ABSA Cape Blend Competition.

2011 Blake's Amethyst
2012 Clos Malverne Spirit of Malverne Limited Release
2010 Idiom C
2010 Kaapzicht Steytler Vision Cape Blend
2012 KWV Abraham Perold Tributum
2009 Painted Wolf Peloton Rouge
2012 Rhebokskloof The Rhebok Cape Blend Limited Edition
2012 Spier Creative Block 8
2012 Wildekrans Cape Blend Barrel Select Reserve
2013 Windmeul Cape Blend Reserve

Exciting  mix of previous winners and newcomers!

Congrats to all for getting to the finals.


05 August 2014

First German Pinotage

Germany has long been said to grow Pinotage, but extensive research for my 2009 book proved to my satisfaction that there was none outside nurseries.

But there is now. In 2008 Stefan Bietighöfer planted about a quarter hectare of Pinotage and added a further 0.65 ha in 2012.

Winemaker Stefan Dorst had been impressed by a bottle of Bietighöfer’s Pinot Noir but was astonished when he learned he’d planted Pinotage. “Who needs Pinotage from the Palatinate? No man!” was his initial response.

  Dorst had worked in South Africa and had fifteen years making Pinotage at Laibach Estate. Now back in Germany with his own négociant business, Dorst was the obvious man to turn Bietighöfer’s grapes into wine.

“The Pinotage grape is a diva who wants to be vinified correctly, then and only then it shows the outstanding qualities of the mother variety Pinot Noir”, says Dorst. “Pinotage grows well here on a limey, sandy loam soil in one of the warmer areas of German wine regions.”

Their first vintage was 2010 and the next won 2nd place at Vinum Red Wine Award in the category “new breeds” for Dorst & Bietighöf. They annually produce about 1,000 bottles.

Wine and food blogger Martin Zwick has tasted two vintages:

2011 Dorst & Bietighöfer Pinotage
The yield is very low at 25 hl / ha. This gives the grapes a high concentration of aromas. The grapes were harvested in late October and initially macerated cold for 24 hours to obtain maximum extraction of colour and tannins. After the fermentation started on the skins 30 to 32 ° C. Once the wine an alcohol level of 10% vol. pressed and completes the alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel tanks. Here it passes through a portion of malolactic fermentation, and is completed in new French oak barrels and then aged for 12 months in 225 litre French oak barrels. On 14 November 2012, the wine was bottled unfiltered, protecting its rich fruit and intense, natural varietal character.
This Pinotage has class. It is many years since I have had such a good Pinotage in the glass and I would say that only a few representatives from South Africa can compete with this. Impressively juicy and velvety fruit of blackberries, black currants, plums, spices and dark chocolate. Displays the balance and structure of a great wine and you can tell that Mr Dorst is familiar with the grape Pinotage for many years.

2012 Dorst & Bietighöfer Pinotage
In this Pinotage from the Palatinate we have, as it were, the best of both worlds: the spice and power of Cinsaut and the finesse and charming awareness of Pinot Noir. Beguiling perfume with a velvety and silky texture. Cherry, plum, spices and very Burgundian in the finish. Beautifully fresh on the palate and never rustic or alcoholic. Belongs definitely to the red wine elite in Germany. 
Thanks to Martin for permission to quote from his posts on the German Wine Forum and blog. The above has been translated thanks to Google and the original German text can be read at Dasweinforum.de and his Berlinkitchen33 blog

31 July 2014

WoTM : Fleur du Cap Pinotage Roobernet 2001

My wine of the Month for July is truly a rarity. Indeed, it deserves the overused word ‘unique’, for it is a blend of two South African varieties, Pinotage and Roobernet.

Roobernet is a crossing between Cabernet Sauvignon and Alicante Bouschet.  Professor Chris Orffer at Stellenbosch University thought and intended that the latter vine was South Africa’s historic Pontac. Both are rare teinturer varieties, meaning their flesh and juice are red instead of clear like nearly all other wine grapes. The crossing was made in the vineyard and Prof Orffer had doubts later and DNA examination showed the true parentage

Roobernet doesn’t appear to have grabbed winemakers attention. This is the only bottle I have seen its name on, although I understand it has subsequently appeared in occasional blends but the only varietal I am aware of is a Cape Ruby port style Roobernet made by Jacques Smit.

I expect, tho’, that it appears uncredited in some red wines as teinturer grapes make very deep red-black wines useful for adding colour to otherwise pale red wines.

I bought this wine, the first and last, Pinotage Roobernet made by Fleur du Cap at their cellar shop at the Bergkelder in Stellenbosch, carried it back to the UK  and kept it for a special occasion.  A recent discussion about Pontac reminded me that I’d kept it long enough.

I feared it may be passed its best, but I think at 13 years old I found it at its peak. I have no idea what Roobernet should taste like, but its 45% contribution seems to have given a solidity and base notes to the 55% Pinotage majority. This was a four square serious adult wine, full bodied with a sweet core to give lift (presumably from Pinotage) and an discrete spiciness. I greatly enjoyed it with dinner and if they make any more, I’ll be buying.

28 July 2014

Pinotage Top 10 2014 -- The Finalists

The 20 Finalists of the 2014 ABSA Top 10 competition are:

Allée Bleue - 2012 Allée Bleue Pinotage
Bellingham  - 2013 Bellingham The Bernard Series Bush Vine Pinotage
Beyerskloof - 2011 Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage
Delheim - 2012 Delheim Vera Cruz Estate Pinotage
Dewaldt Heyns - 2012 Weathered Hands Pinotage
Diemersdal Landgoed - 2013 Diemersdal Pinotage Reserve
Eikendal Vineyards - 2012 Eikendal Pinotage
KWV - 2012 KWV The Mentors Pinotage
Maastricht Wines - 2013 Maastricht Pinotage
Nuy Wynkelder -  2013 Nuy Barrel Selection Pinotage
Olsen Private Vineyards - 2012 Olsen Pinotage
Perdeberg Wynkelder - 2012 Perdeberg The Dry Land Collection Pinotage
Rhebokskloof -  2012 Rhebokskloof Pinotage
Rijk's Cellars - 2010 Rijk's Reserve Pinotage
Simonsig Landgoed 2012 Simonsig Pinotage Redhill
Spier 2012 Spier 21 Gables Pinotage
Stanford Hills 2012 Stanford Hills Jacksons Pinotage
Whalehaven Wines 2012 Whalehaven Pinotage
Wildekrans Wine Estate 2012 Wildekrans Pinotage Barrel Select Reserve
Windmeul Kelder 2013 Windmeul Pinotage Reserve

There's an interesting mix of previous winners, Pinotage stalwarts, newcomers and some names quite new to me. From these 20 will come the final 'Top 10'.

Every year the Pinotage quality just gets better and better.

Congratulations to all and best wishes for the final.