25 July 2007

Mellasat Pinotage - Good News / Bad News

Mellasat is another name new to me, and having discovered them I can report that there is good news and bad news.

The good news is that they have made some super Pinotages but the bad news is that are ceasing production -- 2002 was the last -- and are instead using the fruit to meet demand for their succesful flagship Mellasat'M' - a Cape Blend of Shiraz, Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Mellasat is located in the Klein Drakenstein foothills above Paarl and is owned by the Richardson Family. Owner/winemaker Stephen Richardson is a British farmer from Norfolk, England who purchased Dekkersvlei farm in 1996 and set about restoring its Victorian wine cellar, installing modern equipment and planting red varieties. The name 'Mellasat' is an anagram of the first two letters of each of the family members names.

They have an entry level series named Dekkers Valley and the premium Mellasat range.

I tasted the Mellasat 2001 and 2002 Pinotage (pictured above with some just picked home grown courgettes) over two nights.

2001 Mellasat Pinotage WO Paarl

Incredibly dense black colour, brick rim. Full bodied mature wine with soft mulberry fruit flavours, peppery and with a spicy finish.

2002 Mellasat Pinotage WO Paarl

Dense colour, red rim. Brightberry fruit on front palate, some chocolate and toffee flavours, soft tannins and a really spicy finish.

Our small tasting panel was equally divided between the two wines, half preferring the more restrained integrated mature 2001 and half the fruitier and more acidic 2002.

Both wines had a lot of loose sediment needing careful pouring or decanting. I was impressed with the corks used, top quality 2-inch long polished corks.

It is a real shame that Mellasat have decided not to pursue varietal bottling of their Pinotage. Mature quality Pinotage is not easily found, but stocks of these wines held in the UK are currently on offer; see the website http://www.mellasat.com/

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