13 February 2008

All in the Family

Pinotage is, as any fule kno, the result of an arranged marriage between noble, shy, delicate Pinot Noir and a rough diamond called Cinsaut.

Some 80 years after its conception, winemaker Conrad Vlok has claimed a world first by putting both parents and offspring together in one bottle.

Family Tree 2004 is a blend of 38% Pinot Noir, 34% Cinsaut and 28% Pinotage.

They say Pinotage overwhelms a blend and I’d expected fragile Pinot Noir to be lost, but this wine smells of it – “is this Burgundy?” my partner asked me when I poured her a glass. Unlikely when we’re here in the Cape wine-lands for me to taste primarily Pinotage, but I had told her I was giving her one night off my favourite variety.

So what did we get? A good clear bright red colour, a burgundian nose, a bit green and vegetal. Light bodied and austere with some strawberry flavours but a sour finish. I’m not sure if it is supposed to be like this, or has passed its best (it’s now four years old), but my bell remained un-rung. I would have appreciated some of that Pinotage sweetness.

But we did enjoy the poetic back label.

I know nothing about Family Tree, and find no mention of it in Platter but I did meet Conrad Vlok once some years ago when he was winemaker at Delheim and I know he has a skill with Pinotage. He is now at Strandvlei Vineyards in Elim, responsible for the First Sighting range, whose knockout Sauvignon Blancs are in my local Morrisons, and maybe this is a personal venture.

Last year Beyers Truter announced he was going to produce a blend of these same three varieties. I don’t think he’ll need any encouragement, but don’t stint on the Pinotage, Beyers.

Note: My partner suggests that any fule might not kno that the misspellings in the first sentence are deliberate and that I should therefore mention they are a quotation from an incredibly famous book.*

*that she has never heard of.

Producer: Family Tree
Vintage: 2004
Varieties: 38% Pinot Noir, 34% Cinsaut, 28% Pinotage
Winemaker: Conrad Vlok
Appellation: Stellenbosch
ABV: 13%
Price: R51 (£3.65/$6.95)

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a nice concept Peter.

    It would be nice to have a Pinot Noir, Cinsault Pinotage and the blend from the same terroir side by side