31 March 2021

WoTM - Fleur du Cap 'Series Privée' Pinotage 2016

My Wine of the Month for March is Fleur du Cap 'Series Privée' 2016  WO Coastal Region.

It was a 2019 Pinotage Top 10 Winner and this bottle was my first and only. I bought it in Wine Village, Hermanus, in March 2020.

On opening it had a slight vegetal nose, but this soon went. When poured it was a very dark purple colour and released a power scent of blueberries, which express themselves exuberantly in the mouth. The wine had a creamy texture with tangy spearmint to the fore.

This was a lovely wine, insisting one poured another glass and it was finished all too soon.

If I had more bottles, I would keep them with confidence as this wine, while drinking well now, will surely reward aging.

From the winery fact sheet:

The first vineyard is from Stellenbosch Kloof in Stellenbosch from trellised vines planted in 2000. The row direction is E/W and the slope is north facing.

The other two vineyards originate from bush vine vineyards in Bottelary Hills and Agter Paarl. The Paarl vineyard was planted in 1994 and is farmed under dryland conditions. The soils are Swartland shale with excellent water holding capacity. Grapes are removed to one bunch per shoot resulting in a low yield of 6 tons/ha. The Bottelary Hills vineyard was planted in 1987 in similar soils on a north-west facing slope. Supplementary irrigation was given as required, yielding 7 tons/ha.

The grapes were handpicked, carefully destemmed and lightly crushed to open top fermenters. The wine was punched down during fermentation for optimal extraction of colour and tannins. After passing through small basket presses, the wine went straight to barrel (30% new oak) for malolactic fermentation. Racking as opposed to filtration was used to clarify the wine. The final blend was completed after 16 months in barrel.

28 February 2021

WoTM - Single Vision Pinotage 2020

 My Wine of the Month for February is Single Vision Pinotage 2020

This was a really exciting 'tage, offering lots of fresh berry fruits, well balanced acidity, that typical Pinotage sweetness and all with reasonable13.5% abv. I returned to buy more, and it was all gone.

The back label says Single Vision is a project of Duncan Savage and Thys Louw of Diemersdal.

02 February 2021

Beyers Truter wins 1659 Award for Visionary Leadership


Beyers Truter  was honoured with the iconic 1659 Award for Visionary Leadership on Tuesday 2 February 2021 during the industry's 10th annual Wine Harvest Commemorative event.

The purpose of the event is to celebrate the wine industry's inception 362 years ago on 2 February 1659, to ask for the Blessing of the Harvest and to honour role players.

The criteria for the Visionary Leadership award  includes demonstrable efforts and initiatives that have benefited the South African wine industry; a lasting impact and legacy; and to encourage and inspire others in the industry.

As winemaker, wine personality and owner of Beyerskloof, Truter has done all of this as part of his mission to have the South African Pinotage variety internationally recognised as a premium red wine. 

In 1979, Truter obtained a degree in BSc Agriculture with oenology and viticulture at Stellenbosch University. At the age of 25, he became the winemaker of Kanonkop, establishing the brand worldwide with numerous awards, including the prestigious Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande Trophy for the world's best red blend with his iconic Paul Sauer 1991 Bordeaux blend. 

He also won the Robert Mondavi Trophy at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in 1991 for Best Winemaker in the World. Truter also is the founder and chairperson of the Pinotage Association.

As a true wine legend who has placed Pinotage on the world map, Truter is a commendable recipient of the 1659 Award for Visionary Leadership. 

Previous recipients are Jan Boland Coetzee, Prof Piet Goussard, the Unsung Wineworkers, Charles Back, Danie de Wet, Norma Ratcliffe, Jan Scannell, Dave Hughes and Spatz Sperling. 

31 January 2021

WoTM - Jerome Winery Pinotage 2012



My Wine of the Month for January is Jerome Winery Pinotage   2012 from Arizona, USA.

In 2016 I was invited to present at The American Wine Society National Conference in Coast Mesa, California. 

Before the conference we took the opportunity to drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, and after a few nights there to the Grand Canyon for a couple of nights, then south to stay at Sedona in order to visit Jerome, before heading to Temecula Valley and back to Costa Mesa.

Jerome, said in 1903 by New York’s The Sun to be “the wickedest town in the West”, was created to support the copper mine that excavated Cleopatra Hill. The mine shut in the 1950s and the town, which is effectively three parallel streets perched up on the side of a high hill, is now a tourist destination of shops, restaurants and wineries

Jerome Winery is a label of Cellar 433 which has its winery on the edge of the town with a steep drop behind it. It is owned by John McLoughlin who makes the wines and grows the grapes in the family vineyard on Dragoons Mountain, about 300 miles south east of Jerome, in the Willcox AVA.

I was lucky when I called in meeting John (above) on one of his infrequent visits to Jerome and he gave me a tasting. Unfortunately I have mislaid or lost the notebook I used, and after this time it has still not turned up I opened the wine, perhaps having left it too long.

Its pale red colour gave that initial impression, but it had a delicious delicate taste, with spiciness and a long finish. A gorgeous wine.


31 December 2020

WoTM Kanonkop Estate Pinotage 2015

 My Wine of the Month for December is Kanonkop Estate Pinotage 2005.

We enjoyed this on Christmas Day with roast turkey, roast parsnip and potatoes, steamed brussels sprouts, carrot, cauliflower, cabbage, sage & onion stuffing balls and Yorkshire pudding.

I had the 2010 and 2000 vintages ready as we had planned for wine, and Pinotage, loving family to join us, but a late change to Covid rules meant we dined on our own. 

The 2015 was at a perfect stage, with everything in balance and plenty of fruit. Smooth and delicious, we look forward to a happier time in 2021 when we will open another bottle of it and then the older ones for our guest.

Goodbye 2020....

23 December 2020

Meerendal Pinotage Tasting Menu

 Meerendal's Restaurant, Il Tesoro, is serving a five course Pinotage Wine Pairing Dinner on Thursdays. They say booking is essential; phone number is on the website here

Video - Meerendal Winemaker Tastes Pinotage

Meerendal winemaker Thys Smit (above) tastes Meerendal Estate Pinotage in this short video.

The vintage is not identified and the label not clearly shown, so seems to be a generic description of the wine style rather than specific.

13 December 2020

Jancis Chooses Springfontein Pinotage for Xmas

 Jancis Robinson MW's list of recommended Christmas wines includes one Pinotage.

She says  

These celebratory reds  ...... should deliver pleasure and relative value. Even the 15 percenters taste well balanced and appetising

Springfontein, Terroir Selection Pinotage 2016 Walker Bay, South Africa 15%

Very sweet and vital ..... amazingly well balanced. A very superior Pinotage.

First published in her column in The Financial Times and available in full on her website.