25 May 2004

LIWSF 2005

Wines of South Africa featured a tasting stand of six different varieties over the three days of London's International Wine & Spirit Fair held in May 2004. I staffed the stand on the Pinotage day where I poured

Bergsig 2002
Beyerskloof Reserve 2002
Citrusdal Cardouw 2001
Kaapzicht Estate Steytler 2001
La Cave 2002
Lord Neethling 1999
Middelvlei 2000
Slaley 2002
Southern Right 2002
Stellenzicht Golden Triangle 2001
Tukulu 2001
Viljoensdrift 2002
Wildekrans 2002

There was a lot of interest and the stand was busy all the time. A French party from OIV (International Office of Vine and Wine) wanted to taste Pinotage which they'd only heard about and several sommeliers and restauranteurs came looking for Pinotages to list, especially those not currently distributed in the UK so they could have an exclusive.

Some people came with colleagues who didn't want to taste as they 'didn't like Pinotage.' But when encouraged to take a glass they all revised their opinion. The best way to overcome negativity against Pinotage is to let people taste the wonderful wines now being made.

17 May 2004

What They're Saying

"The difference between Kiwi and South African Pinotage is climatic. The South African climate ripens it quicker making it more steely, but it makes ours more fruity and pinot-like. While it can be a bit too in your face, alcoholic and obviously fruity, ultimately it could be to New Zealand what Zinfandel is to California." Brenda Gould, winemaker at New Zealand's Muddy Water winery. ("WINE Gourmet Traveller" Australia Jan 04)

"The Cape vineyards also produce a variety of internationally acclaimed wines like Burgundy and Cabernet Sauvignon. Of the numerous exported varieties, the most popular is the Pinotage." (Mumbai NewsOnline 27/4/04)

"Who'd have thought it? South Africa's Pinotage grape is starting to produce some stylish red wines," says Joanna Simon, and she cites 2002 Flagstone Writers Block Pinotage "Everything Pinotage should be: sweet berry fruit, chocolate richness." (The Sunday Times,UK 2 May 04)

"Delheim Pinotage Rosé 2003 brimming with red berries and finishing with an invigorating kick of acidity. (Beppi Crosariol, 15 May 04, Globe & Mail Toronto)

"Funny how it took the South Africans to develop this intriguing grape variety. Imagine Pinot Noir, now blend it with Beaujolais and add just a bit of pepper. Now take two plump steaks, toss them on the charcoal and season them with herbes de Provence." (Handwritten sign next to Backsberg 1997 Pinotage in LiquorWorld wine superstore in Franklin, Massachussetts. This was the only Pinotage in less than half a dozen SA wines stocked at this large store)

15 May 2004

Pinotage Impresses Pascalle

Stellenzicht's consultant from Bordeaux, Pascale Chatonnet, visited in the first week of May and was very impressed with what he tasted.

He 'loved' the Pinotage, describing it as 'classically elegant' while the Shiraz and Syrah got the usual nod of approval. The Pinotage was still bright purple, having not yet undergone malolactic fermentation, but the chewy fruit was still evident. Of the samples through 'malo' and in the barrel, that lovely Pinot Noir-ish strawberry character was wonderfully present.

13 May 2004

IWC 2004

South Africa won 10 Gold medals, 59 Silver, 141 Bronze and 249 Seals at the 2004 International Wine Challenge.

Pinotage got 3 Golds and 5 Silver medals (The other Golds went to Shiraz 3, Chenin Blanc 2, Chardonnay 2.)

The Gold medal winning Pinotages are
  • Beyerskloof Reserve 2002
  • Spier Private Collection 2002
  • Spier Private Collection 2001

Silver medal winning Pinotages are
  • Cape Province 2001
  • Domaine Brahms 2003
  • Stellenzicht Golden Triangle 2001
  • Horse Mountain 2003
  • Kaapzicht Estate Steytler 2001

Congratulations to them all.


10 May 2004

Recent Dinner Wines

Sentinal Reserve 2001
14% alc
Deep garnet red colour, attractive upfront fruits, red plums and redcurrants, and an uplift of tangy fruit acids with by integrated tannins on finish. Enjoyable.

Sumaridge 2002
Very dark purple, subdued nose, soft berry and cherry flavours, some tannins on mid palate, but with hot alcoholic finish. 250 cases were made, aged 11 months in new 225 litre barrels

Mont Destin 2001
14.5% alc
Dusty cherry nose; cherries and enticing sweet fruits on palate finishing
with enough tannins to match food.

Wildekrans Estate 2002
Soft perfumed nose, modern fruit-led wine with subtle complex balance of fruit, tannins and acids coming together to create a delicious experience. Long aftertaste.

03 May 2004

Porterville Progress

'Porterville is definitely on its way' said in March 2003. Since then their website at is active and they're pulling in medals, including a bronze for their Pinotage 2002 Unfiltered Reserve. CEO Des Green says "in total we received 6 medals, 2 silver and four bronze at the first Starwine competition, held in Philadelphia. I want Porterville to compete and be recognised in the international arena."

Porterville were displaying at the London International Wine Fair 2004 where I was particularly taken with their Pinotage 2002 Unfiltered Reserve - Dark ruby with pink rim, soft perfumed nose, medium body, spicy red berries and medium finish. A really attractive drinking wine.