19 August 2016

2016 Pinotage Top 10 Finalists

The 20 finalists for the 2016 Absa Pinotage Top 10 Competition are:-

  • Delheim Vera Cruz Estate Pinotage 2014
  • Diemersdal Pinotage Reserve 2015
  • Flagstone Writers Block Pinotage 2014
  • Fleur du Cap Pinotage Unfiltered 2014
  • Frater Family Wines Oupa Bull Pinotage Reserve 2015
  • Kanonkop Pinotage 2010
  • Kanonkop Pinotage 2013
  • Knorhoek Two Cubs Pinotage 2015
  • KWV The Mentors Pinotage 2013
  • Landskroon Pinotage 2014
  • L’Avenir Single Block Pinotage 2014
  • Lyngrove Platinum Pinotage 2014
  • Maastricht Pinotage 2015
  • Manley Pinotage 2014
  • Perdeberg The Dry Land Collection Pinotage 2014
  • Rickety Bridge Pinotage 2015
  • Rijk’s Reserve Pinotage 2013
  • Rooiberg Winery Reserve Pinotage 2015
  • Simonsig Pinotage Redhill 2014
  • Springfontein Wine Estate Jonathan’s Ridge Single Vineyard Pinotage 2012

The 10 winners will be announced on 29 August 2016.

This is the 20th year of the competition which started in 2007. In the past 19 years two wineries have won more times than any other: Kanonkop and Rijks, both taking 10 trophys, and it is good to see they are both finalists this year.

There's a good mix of established names and newcomers. I'm pleased to see L'Avenir back in the finals; their vineyards  produced 7 wins in the past and the current entry's back label honours Francois Naude the winemaker from that time.

Pinotage Association Chairman Beyers Truter said

"Rijk’s and Kanonkop, as other finalists such as Simonsig and Diemersdal are no strangers to the Absa Top 10, while relative newcomer producers of the likes of Rickety Bridge and Frater Family Wines are exciting developments.

Together with this mix of new and established, it is fantastic to see quality Pinotages originating from nearly all of South Africa’s diverse regions – from Stellenbosch and Paarl, to Walker Bay, Durbanville and Robertson. For quality Pinotage wines to be produced from such a diverse spectrum of terroirs not only underscores the versatility of the grape; it is also testimony of the producers’ love for fine winemaking, their commitment and insight of the region’s climates and terrains.”

Congratulations to all.

12 August 2016

Pinotage 'defies outdated stereotype'

 "South African wine defies outdated stereotype", says Michele Parente at The San Diego Union-Tribune, who chose Kanonkop Pinotage 2013  as her  Wine of the Week.

She says

This misunderstood wine, a hybrid of pinot noir and cinsault, tastes like neither. But it tastes delicious. So much so, I’m breaking the $30 limit on Wine of the Week picks to shout from the rooftops that if you haven’t heard of pinotage before, seek it out. Or, if you’ve been unaware of the improvement in quality of these South African native wines over the past 15 years, consider yourself aware.

Read the review at http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2016/jul/27/wine-of-week-kanonkop-pinotage/

01 August 2016

WoTM -- Ayama Pinotage 2013

My Wine of the Month for July 2016 is Ayama Pinotage 2013, from their vineyards in Voor Paaardederg.

Berries – especially red cherries – were very much to the fore on opening, with a light sweet cherry thread to the front on the palate. It treads lightly on its 14.5% abv with a bright clean fresh fruit finish.

I’ve not come across this label before. Ayama's first bottling was in 2006 and this wine was a Winner in the 2015 ABSA Top 10 Pinotage Competition.

01 July 2016

WoTM - Te Awa Pinotage 2004

My Wine of the Month for June 2016 is Te Awa Pinotage 2004 from the premium Gimblett Gravels of Hawkes Bay, on New Zealand’s North Island.

This was the last of the Te Awa’s I carried home from New Zealand and it is from a vineyard that is no more. As I reported in December 2014, after Te Awa changed ownership, their block of Pinotage was removed.

This wine I perhaps kept a little too long, After twelve years, it had gained that patina of age, with muted fruit streamlined sweetness and a core of acidity. A delicious food wine. 

Ta Ta Te Awa.

31 May 2016

WoTM - Simonsig Redhill Pinotage 2006

 My Wine of the Month for May 2016 is Simonsig ‘Redhill’ Pinotage 2006. 

Pinotage was the first red wine  made by Frans Malan, founder of Simonsig. That was almost 50 years ago and Simonsig are still on the top of the game.

They make two Pinotages: one  unoaked, which isn’t that common, and this one which has seen 14 months in 100% new barriques, 89% French and 11%  American white oak.

Redhill is a single vineyard wine that gets its name from the low hill of red soil  of decomposed weathered shale that rises behind the winery.

This vintage won all the major awards going, including Pinotage Top 10 in 2008 and 5 Platter stars, see photo below.

The back label says this wine will age for 6-8 years after vintage but at 10 years old this still had plenty of life in it. However it’s hard to believe that it could get even better than it is now.

It has the mark of a great mature Pinotage; sophisticated nose with signs of sleek age on the palate with soft tannins, subdued fruit and that delicious fruit sweetness that’s a hall mark of the variety. Soft subtle and very classy. A delight from start to lingering finish.

23 May 2016

Pinotage Plantings Increase 13.4%

Pinotage plantings in South Africa have increased  by 13.41% over the ten years ended 31 December 2015.

Official figures published by SAWIS show there are currently 7364.33ha of Pinotage, meaning it has overtaken both Chardonnay and Merlot to become the sixth most planted variety.

The area planted to wine grapes has fallen every year since its apex in 2006, but the  percentage planted to Pinotage has increased to 7.5% from 6.5% ten years ago.

The top six varieties account for 69% of plantings.

The South African A Wine Industry Information & Systems (SAWIS) report for 31 December 2015 is here

02 May 2016

Matthew Jukes is Moved by Spice Route Pinotage

“I am not a Pinotage fan,” says Matthew Jukes, voted “the most influential wine writer in the UK” in 2011.

But “I taste everything that moves and let you know when a wine moves me and this week it just happens to be a Pinotage.”

It’s Spice Route 2014 Pinotage of which Matthew says:

“Class, spice, damson, cinnamon and plum cavort and the gloss on the palate is remarkable. It’s a steal, too. Reward your palate with a very rare treat this week.”

Read full story at http://moneyweek.com/spice-route-winery-pinotage-south-africa/