06 February 2020

Pinotage's bad rap is a mistake!

Olly Smith at The Mail on Sunday (London) says “Pinotage is often given a bad rap. But this is a mistake” and he gives his take on 3 supermarket own labels – including Marks & Spencer's Field of Dreams that I featured in my last post. 

He also recommends Bellingham Homestead Pinotage which is a cracker “Truffly, symphonic, resonant and rich” and he makes his Wine of the Week Kanonkop Estate Pinotage 2017 “Iconic, silky and elegant red to blow your mind. As good as Pinotage get
s.”


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31 January 2020

WoTM – House of Dreams Pinotage 2019


My Wine of the Month for December is Marks and Spencer House of Dreams 2019. 


This image from M&S doesn't show a vintage



House of Dreams is made for them from Swartland fruit by Ben Jordaan (Kumala Wines) and M&S’s own winemaker Sue Daniels, and bottled at Journey’s End winery.


This is a lighter ‘beaujolais’ style wine with violets and bubblegum on the nose. It’s soft and fruity, tasting of raspberries and seems quite sweet. With alcohol at 13.5% I imagine there’s a goodly amount of residual sugar.


I didn’t find much body or depth in this wine and, although I can see its appeal, I much prefer the M&S Bellevue Estate Houdamond Pinotage albeit costing £13.50 against House of Dreams’ £8.



06 January 2020

Pinotage Lights My Fire: The Herald


Pete Stewart, in Scotland's  The Herald writes that cold is gripping Glasgow and thus:

"We clearly need to source a big, spicy red to warm the cockles.

Pinotage always lights my fire, but it’s definitely a ‘marmite’ wine in that it’s not for everyone. I love its brash character and the sheer depth of unusual flavours in the glass. These flavours can include smoky bacon, balloons and blue cheese. It’s a bit like drinking the juice of spicy plums and dark berries…from a wellington boot."

He recommends: 

Swartland Private Collection Pinotage 2017 "such good value that you can talk yourself into buying two bottles." 

Kanonkop Estate Pinotage 2017  "manages to perfection the difficult balance between elegance and full-on dark, spicy fruit."

31 December 2019

WoTM - Kanonkop Estate 2006 Pinotage

My Wine of the Month for December is Kanonkop Estate 2006 Pinotage.

I've been buying and keeping Kanonkop for decades and while they are great young they are sublime with a decade or more aging. This was one of three remaining from 15 that I bought in April 2009. I will drink the others soon because, although I think they will keep for years more, they are at their peak now.

This was one of three remaining of 15 bought in April 2009.

 Pinotage's youthful exuberance has been replaced by linear sophistication, with underlying Pinotage sweetness. A delightful drink that was soon emptied.

01 December 2019

Kaapzicht, Lievland are Exceptional Pinotages - Washington Post

Dave McIntyre in The Washington Post rates as ‘exceptional’ Pinotages from Kaapzicht and Lievland. 

He says ‘Pinotage is South Africa's equivalent of California’s Zinfandel’.

Of the Kaapzicht Pinotage 2016 he says ‘Kaapzicht makes a lovely, bright version with berry fruit and a good frame of tannin to sustain the long finish.’ 

Lievland Vineyards Bushvine Pinotage 2017 is ‘a more savory expression of Pinotage, from old vines. There is dark fruit here, but the lasting impression is a comforting earthiness, with hints of wild mushrooms and forest air ... this wines stillness suggests power waiting to be unleashed.’ 

Read the full reviews here. 

Dawn Egan for The Irish News makes her Wine of the Week the Co-op’s Irresistible Swartland Pinotage 2017 made by Duncan Savage. She says it’s ‘smooth, juicy, fruit forward, plummy style’ and ‘would make a great pairing with a roast leg of lamb Sunday dinner, given its bold brambly, mulberry fruits, hint of smoky spiciness and long finish.’ 

Read the full review here.

30 November 2019

WoTM - Horton Pinotage 2014 and Rose 2018

My Wines of The Month for November are from Horton Vineyards. Founder Dennis Horton was the Pinotage pioneers on east coast USA.

Horton Vineyards 2014 Orange County is the standard red Pinotage which they've been producing from the variety they first planted in 1993. They have recently introduced a rosé Pinotage.

The 2014 red Pinotage is already showing brown tinges and is lighter in colour than many others. It needs time to open up as it's closed on first pour and so would benefit from decanting.

Then it shows coffee on the nose. This is a thoroughly enjoyable wine with a reasonable 13.7% abv. It has cherry and berry fruits, with some coffee and chocolate flavours. There's enough acidity to encourage another glass.

At the American Wine Society National Conference in the warmth of St Pete Beach, Florida, I opened Horton's newly launched rosé Pinotage with an eye catching label called Gears and Lace from their Steam Punk line of wines. 

Horton Gears and Lace  Rosé Pinotage 2018 was a lovely bright dark pink, darker it seemed, than some Burgundies. On the nose was smoked Gouda, in the mouth we tasted a tang of watermelon. The wine was smooth, refreshing and quite lovely.


10 November 2019

Platter's 2020 5 Star Pinotages

The 2020 edition of Platter's South African Wine Guide has just announced it 5 star wines.

There are six varietal Pinotages and two Cape Blends. 

Beeslaar Pinotage 2017
Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage 2017
Diemersdal Reserve Pinotage 2018
Flagstone Time Manner Place Pinotage 2017 *
Kanonkop Black Label Pinotage 2017


Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage 2017

Beyerskloof Faith 2015 (Cape Blend) *

Kaapzicht Steytler Vision 2017 (Cape Blend)

* indicates the  highest-scoring 5-star wines in their category and chosen as Platter’s Wines of the Year.



Two winemakers each have two wines with the coveted five stars. Abrie Beeslaar (Beeslaar and Kanonkop) and Anri Truter (Beyerskloof).

Congratulations to all involved, and also to the Platter Guide in its 40th annual edition of this invaluable and unique miniature encyclopaedia of South African wine.