02 March 2009

Tasting Pinotage Blends in London

To London for the first time for more than four months for a tasting of Top End Blends organised by WoSA. What strikes me is just how expensive SA wines are getting. £36 for a Merlot blend? £17 for Nederburg's blend of eight white varieties, the sort of thing that Flagstone used to do in a £5 Noon Gun?

Several of the reds have a Pinotage element, but I’ll concentrate on those that have a least 30% Pinotage as per Cape Blend conventions and I’ll list them in descending order of Pinotage proportions.

Cloof Inkspot Vin Noir 2005, (Darling) 14.83%abv.

78% Pinotage, 12% Shiraz, 10% Cinsaut.

Quite edgy, soft talcum powder texture with dried plum and raisin flavours. £8.99

Middlevlei 2006 (Stellenbosch) Middlevlei pioneered this blend of equal shares of Pinotage and Merlot and 14%abv.

This has an attractive sweet nose and a soft classic taste. It is restrained, softly well balanced with sweet berry fruits and a touch of vanilla custard on the finish.. £9.99

Stellenzicht Rhapsody 2006 (Stellenbosch)

has equal shares of Pinotage and Shiraz. 15.28%abv.

Rhapsody is Guy Webber’s pride and joy but I don’t think this particular wine is showing well; it’s a bit rough and has a hot finish, not at all like previous examples. £24.50

Kaapzicht Steytler Vision 2005 (Stellenbosch).

50% Cabernet Sauvignon 40% Pinotage, 10% Merlot 15.1% abv.

Mouth filling well rounded sweet fruit over tannins. Surprising restrained Bordeaux like but with a really attractive spiciness and ripe fruit sweetness. £19.99

Lyngrove Shiraz Pinotage 2004, (Stellenbosch).

70% Shiraz, 30% Pinotage.
Really nicely balanced wine, a thoroughbred not showing its 14%abv. £7.99

Dekkers Valley Revelation 2004 (Paarl).

41% Shiraz, 32% Pinotage, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14%abv

Warm fruit nose leads into a lovely plummy wine, really very enjoyable. £7

I rated Kaapzicht and Middlevlei the best of the bunch, but the discovery of the tasting was Dekkers Valley, second label Mellasat, which offered a really enjoyable drink at the lowest price point.

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