20 August 2007

Pinotage & Pebbles

Tired of the constant sniping at Pinotage on the UK Wine Forum from those who say they dislike the variety, Keith Prothero bet all-comers £200 that they could not detect a Pinotage when tasted blind with other wines.

And from a line-up that included Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, Clos Vougeot Grand Cru Chopin-Groffier, Ornellaia, and Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle only two of the ten contestants correctly identified Grangehurst 2000 as the Pinotage.

More than £1100 was raised for Keith's favourite charity, The Pebbles Project which offers support to children with special educational needs, particularly those whose lives are affected by alcohol in the Western Cape of South Africa. Keith Prothero, who lives in the Cape for six months every year and is a partner in a soon to be launched Swartland winery, has been a supporter of the Pebbles Project from its beginning.

Contenders paid £100 to cover the cost of the meal and wines in a London restaurant and stood to take home £200 if they identified the Pinotage.

But it proved harder than they thought. One wine-lover thought Grangehurst 2000 Pinotage was Mouton Rothschild while another picked it as their Wine of the Night, saying that it was "Medium dark, some slightly age. Brilliant nose, very open, chocolate and gamey. Palate is rich, with undergrowth, pepper and fruit. A lovely streak of bright acidity runs through this, almost like a Germanic wine. But also has menthol character like a Henschke, and some austerity like a Rhone. Maybe a very good Hermitage?"

The wines were
  • Clos Vougeot Grand Cru Chopin-Groffier 1994
  • Quilceda Creek cab 2000
  • Warwick Trilogy 2001
  • Terre Brune Santadi 1998
  • Grangehurst Pinotage 2000
  • Chateau Meyney 1982
  • Three Foxes "The Vixen" Syrah 2004
  • Murrieta Castillo Ygay Reserva Especial 1989
  • Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle 1991
  • Grant Burge Shadrach 1994
  • Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1994
  • Ornellaia 1990

The two winners kindly donated their prizes to Pebbles.

Now Keith is taking his challenge north. Whatever the individual results, the one certain winner will be the Pebbles Project.

This article was originally published in the July issue of WineLand magazine under the title 'Spot The Pinotage'.

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