12 February 2007

Delheim is in the Pink

I think one of the hardest jobs for a winemaker is making the final blend from the various wine constituents. Even a 100% varietal wine is a blend from different tanks and barrels.

Delheim Winery pioneered Pink Pinotage, and today I was able to taste this years vintage from three tanks. Winemaker Brenda van Niekerk (pictured) told me that this year they started picking the grapes on 10 January -- very early as a result of the heat wave the Cape was having.

I found the first tank was a beautiful, almost fluorescent pink, quite lively with pear drop flavors, the second a darker pink had some crisp acidity and the third seemed to me just perfect, fruity dry and a good balance of fruit and acids. But, unlike Goldilocks, one can't just pick the favourite. And Delheim's Pink Pinotage is made off dry, and so soon Brenda and her colleagues will be blending and tasting and blending to get a wine better than the sum of its components that matches Delheim's house style and will continue to delight the regulars of this popular wine. And then their job isn't finished because they will make another Pink Pinotage for Woolworths own label and to their specifications.

And the red Pinotage? It is currently undergoing malolactic fermentation and wasn't ready for tasting.

And, off subject, but I also tasted a really cracking tank sample of a Columbar. This is another under appreciated variety (also known as Columbard and French Colombard) and --wow -- if you like a racy crisp mouthfilling white wine with passion fruit and guava flavours this is it. I'd bottle it as is, but Brenda will blend in some Muscat and Chardonnay to make an off dry low alcohol (less than 10% abv) wine for Woolworths South Africa where it will sold under the name Bianca Light.

(note for non SA readers -- Woolworths in South Africa is a up-market store specialising in clothing with a food & wine department. It is the equivalent of the UK Marks & Spencer)

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