13 September 2005

Domaine St Gregory's Pinotage is Biggest Hit

The fruit for California's Domaine St Gregory from Perry Lloyd's vineyard. I asked Perry how he came to plant Pinotage.

"When I bought my vineyard," says Perry, "it was almost entirely planted in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and while they are both wonderful varietals, and do very well in our terroir, wine-growing is so prone to fluctuations and happenstance that I thought it wise to branch out, so to speak. So, when I had to do some replanting (due to Phylloxera in some own-rooted Pinot Noir vines), I put in a row each of four varietals that had not been tried before in my particular neighborhood - two relatively conservative: Syrah and Viognier; and two more experimental: Arneis and Pinotage, and so far at least, I am quite glad I did.

"I got my plants from the Duarte nursery, here in California, and I don't know where they got their budwood, though I suspect it might have been Steltzner vineyards, since they seem to propagate the most around here. All four varietals seem quite happy and have produced some very nice fruit, but the biggest hit (and, frankly, surprise) has been the Pinotage. Everybody who has tasted it has been very impressed, and Domaine St. Gregory liked the current production enough to ask me to bud an acre of my replant over to Pinotage, for their use. That worked out perfectly, since pruning the current row provided just enough budwood to bud over one acre of my Pinot which should produce nicely next year.

"Pinotage production does seem to be taking off lately in this region, with several enthusiastic proponents, including McNab Ridge, Domaine St. Gregory and Steltzner."

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