27 October 2007

Times blasts stinky SA Wines - Diemersfontein Pinotage Excepted

Not everyone was impressed by the recent South Africa Mega Tasting in London. Jane McQuitty writing in todays Times newspaper says “South Africa has yet to tame its peculiar, savage, burnt rubber and dirt odour. Other commentators either fail to take offence, or euphemistically dismiss the smell and taste as “smoky”, “earthy” or “tarry”. She says she blind tasted the “country’s flagship reds, priced from £16 to £40 a bottle and mostly Bordeaux-inspired blends, and half of them displayed this unpleasant taint.”

We often read that burnt rubber is a descriptor of Pinotage, but McQuitty says that it is nothing to do with the variety, “though this variety frequently suffers from the pong”, which is “associated either with unacceptably high yields, virused vines, a pH-related bacterial infection, or that it’s just what occurs during a typical Cape red wine ferment and maceration session.”

Although she says Pinotage has a “weird, jammy, nail varnish scent” Diemersfontein is one of her favourite South African wines, and is one of only four wines she recommends, “Diemersfontein’s masterly 2006 Pinotage (£7.99), with its sweet, burnt, heavy, peppery fruit,” is ideal for a game casserole.

Full article is at www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/food_and_drink/wine/article2729852.ece


  1. Shame - I don't think she likes SA wines. Her loss.

    The Diemersfontein Pinotage is especially magnificent though. "Chocolate and coffee", they say.

    And they're right. Wow. It's a big wine. Well worth a try.

  2. I agree with the "stink" comment - this very negative factor is very common. I used to think it was associated with the Pinotage grape, but it is more widespread. South African reds are non existent in my cellar for this reason.

  3. Kim Blanche13:45

    I have found out from Diemersfontein that their complete range of wines are available in the UK from Mostly Wine in Kirkcaldy, Scotland. Contact them on 01592 644184 or email shop@mostlywine.co.uk for a price list. They do Mail Order.