14 November 2020

Kanonkop Black Label 2018 - Video

Kanonkop Cellar Master Abrie Beeslaar announces the launch of the 2018 Black Label Pinotage, with a tasting note and a bit of history about how and why Kanonkop decided to bottle their old 1953 vineyard separately as Black Label.

The winery made this video restricted. Click on the link to view it on YouTube

The fact sheet for Kanonkop Estate Black Label 2018 is here.

13 November 2020

Platter 2021 5 Star Pinotages

The Platter Guide to South African Wines has announced its 5 star wines in the forthcoming 2021 annual guide, the 41st, to online subscribers.

All are listed by Angela Lloyd, the Guide’s longest serving taster, here.

Six Pinotages and two Cape Blends received the 5 Star accolade. They are


1953 Single Vineyard Pinotage 2018

Pinotage Reserve 2017  


Diesel Pinotage 2018


Vera Cruz Pinotage 2017


Pinotage The Journal 2018

Pinotage Reserve 2019  

Cape Blends

Beyerskloof   Faith 2016

KWV The Mentors Perold 2017


04 November 2020

Boxed Beyerskloof Pinotage

Woolworths in South Africa are the first, as far as I am aware, to put Pinotage in a bag in a box (BIB). It's their exclusive Reserve Collection label from Beyerskloof. It's been long available  by the 75cl bottle at R99.99, now it also comes in a 2 litre BIB for R189.99, saving R70 

As to what is in the smartly cream labelled Reserve Collection, only Beyerskloof and Woolworths know, but I would guess it's similar to the Reserve Selection sold in the UK which is a mid-point between the stave-aged white label and the barrel-aged black labelled Reserve and is a blend of both.

03 November 2020

Kanonkop Black Label 2018

 Emile Joubert of Wine Goggle got to taste the newly released 2018 vintage of Kanonkop's "Rare. Expensive. Luxurious." premium Black Label Reserve Pinotage.

He came to the  wine "with nervous trepidation. 2018 was a bugger of a vintage, the preceding five years of drought and heat surely having taken a toll on the vineyard, which was 65 years old at the time of harvest. "

But "the experience on the mouth was wonderful. Plush, satin and velvet come to mind, but not of the easy and comfortable and overtly-luxurious kind. 

The tannins have settled, making the experience broader and Rubenesque. Those familiar flavours of honeyed-prunes, damp autumn bark and sappy mulberries are pushed to the fore, gracefully balanced on rounded, muscled hips cloaked in fresh linen."

Kanonkop Black Label Reserve Pinotage 2018 is available from the winery at R1,900 (around GBP 91, USD 119)

Read the full review here.


31 October 2020

WoTM - Kaapzicht Estate Pinotage 2017

 My Wine of the Month for October is Kaapzicht Estate Pinotage 2017

Kaapzicht is a 4th generation farm owned by the Steytler family in the prime Bottelary Hills region of Stellenbosch. I’m surprised Kaapzicht isn’t wider known. 

Danie Steytler was the winemaker when I first visited. He’s now handed over winemaking to son Danie Junior and the quality is a high as ever. Steytler is their top label and under that one finds Pinotage, Vision Cape Blend and Pentagram Bordeaux blend. I have had all these but I haven’t tried their full range of wine, although I have been able to buy their wonderful Chenin.

Kaapzicht means Cape Sight – from the top of Kaapzicht’s vineyards one can look down on Cape Town’s harbour in the distance.

This wine is quintessential Pinotage, made with a light hand by a master of the variety. There’s plum, blackberry and spices over a tannin spine – the wine was aged for two years in French oak barrels before blending. But it’s not a bruiser, instead lighter bodied and sophisticated. Delightful!

13 October 2020

Judges' Notes on 2020 Top 10 Pinotages

 Absa Pinotage Top 10 2020

These are the judges' descriptions of this years winning wines. The wines were tasted blind over three days. The judges' notes were then collated and written by Dr Winnie Bowman CWM, the panel convenor of Tsogo Sun, sommelier Georgio Meletiou, Spier cellarmaster Frans Smit, wine writer Fiona McDonald and viticulturist Solly Monyanane.

Aan de Doorns Wynkelder

Aan de Doorns Pinotage 2018

Winemakers: Chris van Deventer & Chris Geldenhuys

Spice sheen, with a fresh herbal touch to red and black fruit. Bright vivacious with good grip, lovely ripeness and expression. Complex with good length and a smooth cocoa farewell.

Anura Vineyards

Anura Signature Pinotage 2017

Winemaker: Stander Maass

Ribena, nutty spicy Autumn leaf overlay on blue/black fruit. Lovely waxy, creamy mouthfeel with good structure, concentration and length.

Beyerskloof Wyne

Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage 2017

Winemaker: Anri Truter

Granola nuttiness to red/blue fruit. Similar nutty nuance plum/cherry palate. Good structure, yet lithe and supple with of life and interest. Good concentration and depth and long, spicy tail completes the picture. Structured and refined with deceptive concentration.

Conradie Penhill Wines

Conradie Family Vineyards Pinotage 2019

Winemaker:C P  Conradie

Spicy macerated dark fruits. Deep and inviting. Statuesque. Beautifully balanced mouthful of juicy dark fruit, spice and gently supportive frame of oak. Refined, has a regal presence and well made.

Delheim Wines

Vera Cruz Pinotage 2016

Winemaker: Roelof Lotriet

Subtle spice and tealeaf, good raspberry fruit expression – dark, dense and concentrated. Nice squeeze of dry, fine tannin. Good length, succulence and body, well-integrated. Maturing nicely.

Diemersdal Wynlandgoed

Diemersdal The Journal Pinotage 2018

Winemaker: Thys Louw

Pure blueberry, violet and rhubarb appeal. Rounded and rich, broad fruit and spice palate. Good breadth and texture. Balanced ripeness, well-judged spice and oak platform. Well made, suave and genteel.

Durbanville Hills

Durbanville Hills Collectors Reserve Pinotage 2017

Winemaker: Wilhelm Coetzee

Bold spice and lavender highlight to macerated red/cherry fruit and plums. Genteel, suave and smooth entry. Rounded and sleek with a toned and lithe palate. Fruit is nicely ripe with well-integrated oak frame. Good length and elegance. Complex.

Kaapzicht Wine Estate

Kaapzicht Pinotage 2018

Winemaker: Danie Steytler

Plum, spice with a cigar leaf edge. Light cherry lollipop overlay with succulence, squeeze of ripe tannin and a herb-tinged finish. Refined and very well-made. A delight!

Pulpit Rock Winery

Brink Family Vineyards Pinotage 2018

Winemaker: Dewald Huisamen

Perfumed sweet appeal, lavender and blueberry with a brush of cocoa. Rounded, ripe and succulent entry with well-defined palate with beginning, middle and end. Ripe fleshy blue and red fruit, cocoa notes and deep dark intensity. Elegant and nuanced with a refined tail. Smart wine.

Windmeul Kelder

The Legend Collection Pinotage 2018

Winemaker: Abraham van Heerden

Rounded, structured with abundant red and blue fruit mingling with powdery cocoa and smooth creamy milk chocolate. Spice and herb complexity add depth and dimension, cohesive and well made.

My thanks to Dr Winnie Bowman CWM for use of the notes.


10 October 2020

Today is International Pinotage Day

Today is International Pinotage Day. Open a bottle of  'tage and enjoy!