31 August 2015

WoTM Rooiberg Reserve Pinotage 2012

My Wine of the Month for August is Rooiberg Reserve Pinotage 2012.

With a little age this stately statuesque expression of Pinotage is showing well with a taut core bedded in fleshy fruit, tannins in the background. Lovely balance, a delicious serious wine.

This wine was a Pinotage Top 10 winner in 2013.

29 August 2015

2015 Pinotage Top 10 Winners

Winners of this years ABSA Pinotage Top 10 Competition are 
  • Altydgedacht Pinotage 2013
  • Ayama Pinotage 2013
  • Diemersdal Pinotage Reserve 2014
  • Flagstone Writer’s Block Pinotage 2013
  • Groot Constantia Pinotage 2013
  • Kanonkop Estate Pinotage 2012
  • Neethlingshof Estate Pinotage 2014
  • Overhex Survivor Pinotage 2014
  • Rijk’s Reserve Pinotage 2011
  • Windmeul Pinotage Reserve 2014

This year, the 19th  competition first held in 1997 and sponsored by ABSA, there were 154 enteries

Making records with the most wins were Kanonkop Estate and Rijk's Cellar who both took home their 10th trophy. 

Chairman of The Pinotage Association, Beyers Truter, remarked:

“When the Pinotage Association founded the Absa Top 10 Competition in 1997, we had a vision of not only honouring Pinotage wines but also to create legends. By winning Top 10 awards ten times, Kanonkop and Rijk’s have now undoubtedly established themselves not only as legendary producers of Pinotage, but icons in the South African wine industry, too.
As a producer myself I know how high the demands of the judging panel are, and to show the kind of consistency as Kanonkop and Rijk’s have done throughout the years is an affirmation of the winemaker's understanding of his terroir, the unique traits of the Pinotage grape and tremendous winemaking skill.”

Enjoying their first trophy were Paarl's  Ayama and Worcester-based Overhex Wines International.  

Stellenbosch, Paarl and Durbanville each are home to two winners, and there are four wines each from the 2013 and 2014 vintages.

The judging panel were Duimpie Bayly, winemakers Neil Ellis, Fred Viljoen and Corlea Fourie, wine writer Samarie Smit, sommelier Georgio Meletio and viticulturist Stephan Joubert. 

Congratulations to all.


21 August 2015

Pinotage Top 10 2015 - Finalists

The 20 finalists for this years Pinotage Top 10 Competition are:

2013 Altydgedacht (Etienne Louw)
2013 Ayama (Michela Dalpiaz)
2013 Beeslaar (Abrie Beeslaar)
2012 Dewaldt Heyns Weathered Hands (Dewaldt Heyns)
2014 Diemerdal  Reserve (Thys Louw)
2013 Eikendal (Nico Grobler)
2013 Flagstone Writer's Block (Gerhard Swart)
2013 Groot Constantia (Boela Gerber)
2012 Kanonkop (Abrie Beeslaar)
2010 Kanonkop (Abrie Beeslaar)     
2012 Lanzerac Pionier (Wynand Lategan)
2013 Môreson The Widow Maker (Clayton Reabow)
2014 Neethlingshof Estate (De Wet Viljoen)
2014 Overhex Wines International Survivor (Willie Malan)
2012 Perdeberg The Dry Land Collection (Riaan Moller/Albertus Louw)
2011 Rijk's Reserve (Pierre Wahl)
2011 Rijk's Private Cellar (Pierre Wahl)
2013 Sumaridge Estate Wines (Gavin Patterson)
2013 Wildekrans Barrel Select Reserve (William Wilkinson)
2014 Windmeul Reserve (Abraham van Heerden/Andri le Roux)

It's another really interesting competition. One winemaker, Abrie Beeslaar, is represented three times, two for Kanokop and once for his own project,  and another multi-winner, Pierre Wahl at Rijk's has two contenders.

There's a godo mix of previous winner and newcomers and also a new name to me, Weathered Hands, from Saronsberg winemaker Dewaldt Heyns.

Congratulation to them all.

The Ten winners will be announced on 28 August

31 July 2015

WoTM - Beaumont Pinotage 2013

My Wine of the Month for July is Beaumont Pinotage 2013, WO Bot River 2013

I’ve long been a fan of Beaumont winery whose rustic old cellar, Compagnes Drift Farm, was an outpost of the Dutch East India Company. It’s located where the N2 motorway from Cape Town descends from the plateau that starts at Sir Lowry’s post, where the R43 peels off towards Hermanus.

Their first wine, in 1994, was Pinotage. They’ve added many more wines since and were the first in the Cape to release a varietal Mourvedre. 

The winemaker is Sebastian Beaumont whose parents bought the property in 1974.

With this 2013 Pinotage Sebastian has crafted a delicate, subtle and precise interpretation of the variety. And just 13.5% abv, yet full of silky fruit flavours with a lingering aftertaste. 

I really like this wine. I was also pleased to see it closed with a DIAM cork.

30 June 2015

WoTM - J Vineyard's Pinotage 2010

My Wine of the Month for June is J Vineyard & Winery’s Pinotage 2010, grown and made on the estate in California’s Russian River.
This had redcurrant flavours and a lightness of fruits which danced over the reality of its 14.7% abv. Develops complexity and had a long silky finish. Delicious.

J Vineyards discovered they had a 2.8 acre Pinotage plot in the Backdoor Vineyard when Judy Jordan bought the property intending to specialise in traditional-method sparkling wines. 

Pinotage is sold exclusively in their tasting room and it has gathered many fans, quickly selling out each vintage. 

I’ve visited J Vineyards twice and brought this home from my 2012 trip. It cost $48.50 including tax and 620 cases were made. 

10 June 2015

Guillermo Pinotage tasted

I recently tasted Painted Wolf’s 2011 Guillermo Pinotage in the company of chief wolf Jeremy Borg. 
It’s intensity  reminded me of an Italian reciota. Jeremy explained that 10% of the grapes were vinified separately, whole bunched were fermented with their stems in a floating lid tank which was closed when almost dry and left for 6 weeks before pressing. After a year’s maturation this “super super high dry extract” was blended into the wine.

Billy (Guillermo) and Penny Hughes grow the grapes in their vineyard which is now certified organic, although it was in conversion at the time of the 2011 vintage.

I’ve drunk and enjoyed previous vintages of Guillermo Pinotage, and this one is a interesting tweak on a winning formula

07 June 2015

Pinotage on Tap 2015 Tickets Now on Sale

Tickets are now on sale for 2015 POT - Pinotage on Tap, celebrating  the coffee'n'chocolate Pinotage created by Diemersfontein. This is the 11th consecutive year of this great wine, music and food festival.

Dates are

  • 29  August:  Johannesburg at Val Bonne Country Estate in Modderfontein 
  • 19 September: Durban festival  The Litchi  Orchard in Salt Rock
  • 10 October: Grand finale at Diemersfontein Estate in Wellington, just 70km from Cape Town. Fittingly this event will take place on  International Pinotage Day.  
Full details, costs and how to book are  here