20 July 2018

Pinotage and Ice Cream

"Wine experts will likely agree that pairing ice cream with wine is a challenge", says Mark DeWolf in Canada's Nova Scotia Halifax Herald

Courageously he goes ahead and finds Grinder Pinotage makes a match with chocolate ice cream. 

 Read his article here.

18 July 2018

Wine in soup bottles (8)

Daily Telegraph Crossword 28,793 in Tuesday 16 July 2018 edition had this clue for 18 Down:

18 Wine in soup bottles (8)

The answer is, as you've already guessed

Clue: Wine in soup bottles (8 letters)
Soup = potage 
 'in' is bottled, or enclosed thus
Wine = Pinotage

13 July 2018

Meerandal's Heritage Block First Certified Old Vine Pinotage

Meerendal Estate's Heritage Block was planted in 1955 and is one of the oldest Pinotage vineyards in South Africa, and thus the world.

Many wines claim on their label that they are made from 'old vines' or 'vielles vignes', but South Africa is the only country where a regulatory authority certifies such claims.

Members of the Old Vine Project (OVP) can  put a Certified Heritage Vineyards seal on bottles of wine made from vineyards of 35 years or older, together with the planting date. This is a guarantee to the consumer of authentic wines grown according to the OVP viticultural and winemaking guidelines.

Meerendals Old Heritage Block is the first Pinotage to carry the certification seal. 

See here for my visit to the Heritage Block.

09 July 2018

RIP Paul Kemp - Loma Prieta

Paul Kemp, owner/winemaker of Loma Prieta winery perched on the hills above Santa Cruz, California, died at home on 1 July 2018  from complications following surgery.
Paul Kemp
Paul became enthused with Pinotage and bought fruit from Lodi and elsewhere in California and planted his own estate vineyard. 

His Pinotage was very much in demand in his tasting room –“People didn’t know the name of the grape,” he told me, “but when they taste the wine they love it.”

Paul started a Pinotage Wine Club, regularly supplying Pinotage to subscribers; it is the only wine club exclusively for Pinotage.

Such was the demand that he eventually grafted over his award winning Pinot Noir Estate vineyard to Pinotage.
Loma Prieta is North America’s largest producer of Pinotage, and in 2016 Paul created a sparkling white Pinotage, the world’s first.

Paul visited South Africa’s wineland’s in 2011 where he was hosted by The Pinotage Association. He reciprocated in 2013 when a group from the Pinotage Association visited California
Paul leaves behind wife Amy and sons Logan, Axel and Brandon.

Paul Bruce Kemp
3 September 1945 – 1 July 2018

For my video of Paul, taken in 2011 see

02 July 2018

RIP - Dennis Horton

Dennis Horton, owner of Horton Vineyards in Virginia, died on 21 June.

He brought Pinotage and many different varieties to trial in Virginia, some have subsequently become mainstays for the State, including Viognier and Petite Manseng. He also re-introduced Virginia's Norton Seedling i.e. Norton to Virginia
See https://www.washingtonpost.com

I met Dennis at his winery in September 2008 researching for my Pinotage book. Dennis was a fount of viticultural knowledge, a wine enthusiast, an amusing raconteur and generous with his time

30 June 2018

WoTM – Flagstone ‘Writer’s Block’ Pinotage 2014

WoTM – Flagstone ‘Writer’s Block’ Pinotage 2014

My Wine of the Month for June is Flagstone ‘Writer’s Block’ Pinotage 2014.

Viticulturist Anton Koos in the Silkbush Pinotage vineyard
This is sourced from Silkbush Vineyards in the Breede River that also supplies top of the range Time.Place.Manner. It was a Pinotage Top 10 winner in 2016.

And it was gorgeous, sophisticated with overtones of cedar wood shavings. It was  delicious with elegant restrained blackcurrant fruit flavours. Not overt but delicate and, unfortunately, it was my only bottle because I think it will have an interesting long life.

The back label suggests these food matches ‘braised Springbok fillet, spicy lamb stew, and seven Indian curries’.

Tantalisingly it doesn’t name the seven curries. So I think that seven has an extraneous ‘s’…..

The Pinotage block in Silkbush Vineyard

Flagstone's Pinotage (arrowed) is at the top of the vineyard 

27 June 2018

Pinotage Plantings - Dramatic Increase

Pinotage is the only red variety of South Africa's 10 most planted wine grapes to have increased over the past 10 years.

SA Wine Industry Information & Systems (SAWIS) reports the total area under Pinotage is now  6,979 ha, up from 6.5% to 7.4% of the total area under vines.

Domestic sales have increased to over 5 million litres, from 3 million litres at the turn of the century,  and exports since 2001 have gone from just over 8 million litres a year to close on 19 million litres.

Pinotage sales in South Africa’s two biggest export markets, the UK and Germany, have grown from 3.5m and 0.8m litres in 2001 to over 5m and 5.4m litres respectively, with 2017 sales to China and Russia (2.6m and 1.5m litres) now greater than Sweden, the USA, France and Denmark.