13 April 2009

Tasting Pinotage Firsts for the 50th Anniversary

2009 is not only the 350th anniversary of the first Cape Wine: it is also the 50th anniversary of the vintage of the first commercial Pinotage varietal wine.

That was grown and made by PK Morkel of Bellevue and marketed by Stellenbosch Farmer's Winery under their Lanzerac brand name.

So it is appropriate that in this 50th anniversary year I have been asked to present a tasting on of Pinotages on Tuesday to 60 members of Brentwood Wine Appreciation Society, in Brentwood, Essex, near London.

It has taken a lot of thought and effort to obtain eight representative wines. I decided on a theme of 'firsts' and these are the eight wines I will be showing on Tuesday:

Delheim Rosé
Pinotage 2008
(Delheim were the 1st winery to make a rosé Pinotage in 1976

Kaapse Vonkel Brut Rose
Méthode Cap Classique 2006
(Simonsig were the 1st South African winery to make a Methode Champenoise sparkler in 1971)

Blanc de Noirs Pinotage 2008(
this is the 1st commercial release of a white Pinotage)

Warwick Estate
Three Cape Ladies
Cape Blend 2005
(Warwick's 3 Cape Ladies was the 1st cape blend in Wine Spectator’s World’s Top 100 Wines)

Pinotage 2008
(Diemersfontein pioneered the amazing 'coffee & chocolate style' of Pinotage and it was voted 1st choice of readers of The Cape Times which proclaimed it “the Peoples’ Pinotage”)

Bellevue Estate
Pinotage 2007
(Bellevue grew and made the world’s 1st varietal Pinotage in 1959 )
This is an exclusive special bottling for Marks & Spencer.

Pinotage 2006
(1st winery to have 2 wines, this is one of them, in Pinotage 10 Competition)

Kanonkop Estate
Pinotage 2004
(Kanonkop is South Africa’s ‘1st Growth’ says WINE Magazine)

Problem, as always, is sourcing the wines I wanted. I ordered some Reyneke, which is the only biodynanically grown Pinotage but then the supplier cancelled the order as they had only one bottle in stock.

There are no Pinotages from other countries because I was unable to find any available in the UK and didn't have enough in my own cellar.

A good time will be had by all... :)