29 June 2009

Cheap Pinotage is Getting Better

My long held belief that cheap anonymous Pinotage should be avoided is under review. Sure there is inexpensive good Pinotage made by experts like Andries Blake at Swartland Winery and Zakkie Bester at Riebeek Cellars but in my tours of the web I sometimes encounter lousy reviews of the Pinotage variety based on one $5 bottle of wine bearing a shipper’s brand name that doesn’t appear in Platter or have any information about where it was made. If the maker doesn't want to be identified then I don't have much faith in the brand.

Last week in Exeter at the Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant I saw Rouwkes Drift Pinotage listed at £9.95. That is a pleasantly low price for restaurant. But was the wine drinkable?

Indeed, it was an enjoyable, clean, fresh modern fruit driven wine with pleasant red cherry flavours.

The wine was came from Malt House Vintners, which is the wine range exclusive to Booker , a a wholesaler supplying restaurants and independent stores and they suggest a retail price of £5.29 per bottle.

But I couldn’t discover who actually made the wine. The identification number A938 is owned by Constellation, the world’s largest wine company. Constellation’s South Africa wine brands include Kumala and Fishhoek, brands which also featured on Bookers list.

As the best Pinotage’s are getting more expensive, its good to find that the cheapest ones are getting better. Well done Malt House Vintners and especially the Taj Mahal.

But I’d still like to know the wine’s identity….

Rouwkes Drift Pinotage 1997
WO Western Cape

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