11 October 2006

Riebeek Cellar Reserve Pinotage 2005

Riebeek's Winemaker Zakkie Bester with marketing manager Mareli Viljoen Zakkie Bester (pictured right with Mareli Viljoen) is winemaker at Riebeek Cellars, a co-operative that has the good luck to be situated in the Swartland -- an area proving to be one of the best for full flavoured red wines.

I've met Zakkie several times over the years and he is always keen to show me his Pinotage -- and I'm always glad to taste it.

The 2005 Reserve, that he is holding in the picture, is the current release and it is really very very nice. It is a rich ruby red colour, with upfront berry and plum fruits and some vanilla in the mid-palate. It's soft and mouth filling and there's enough acidity on the finish to match well with food.

Zakkie tells me that half the wine was fermented in 2nd fill 300 litre French oak barrels, in which they also went malolactic fermentation and then aged for 6 months, then blended back with the half that was made in stainless steel in order to produce a subtly oaked wine.

Riebeek are a winery that hasn't (yet) been claimed by fickle fashion and so their wines continue to be reasonably priced and are well worth a try when you see them.

Riebeek Cellar Reserve Pinotage 2005 14.5% abv, retail price £8/$16, my score 89+

Zakkie also showed me his 2006 Pinotage Rose. This was had a bluish tinge to its pink colour (maybe the effect of flourescent lighting). It had a strawberry bubblegum nose and strawberries came through on the flavour; soft and off dry (5 grammes of sugar per litre). Not one for me, but certain to be popular with those wanting an easy-to-drink pink.

Zakkie said he picked the fruit a lot earlier than the grapes used in the red wines, and this wine was made from only the free run juice.

Riebeek Cellars Pinotage Rose 2006 13% abv

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