31 July 2009

Muddy Water and Rijks in Cork

That's correct. There's a cork in Rijk's Pinotage but Rijks and Muddy Water are also in Cork: the fine city of Cork, Ireland, at Curious Wines.

Curious Wines were so impressed with one of New Zealand's best Pinotages, the magnificent 2006 Muddy Water, that they have gone to the trouble of importing it themselves.

They say that the Rijk's and Muddy Water 2006 are the very best Pinotages they have ever tasted, and that Rijk's is "proof that South Africa is capable of truly world class wines."

With wines like these, "Pinotage may some day be as popular as Merlot."

Visit http://www.curiouswines.ie/ to order.

27 July 2009

Wine Spectator - "If you like Pinot but have never experienced a Pinotage, you owe it to yourself to try one"

Wine Spectator's James Laube recently blind tasted a flight of 2007 Sonoma Pinot Noirs and found one

"that stood out, and that I really liked. It was dark in color, notably spicy and peppery, with pretty floral scents and ripe, vivid black and wild berry fruit. Tight in structure, dense and concentrated, even a tad rustic, ending with a complex array of fruit, herb and anise, with firm tannins.

My first reaction: Is this a Syrah? Had I missed the change in varietals in the lineup? Did we shift from Pinot to Rhône reds? The wine certainly fit the critique some people have of some California Pinots--that is, they’re too big and almost Syrah-like in their structure, strength and flavor profile.

When the bags came off, the wine made sense. It was a 2007 Pinotage ($38) from J Vineyards and Winery. I liked the new J Pinots, too, but the Pinotage caught my fancy that day, and later that night as I tried it after it had had eight hours of aeration. It was still going strong the next day.

It’s a wonderful wine. If you like Pinot but have never experienced a Pinotage, you owe it to yourself to try one and taste the crossroad of Pinot and Cinsault, or the point where red Burgundy meets the Southern Rhône."

Read the full review at http://jvineyards.blogspot.com/2009/07/james-laube-of-wine-spectator-on-j.html


26 July 2009

Pinotage Judges Struggle

Judges at the 2009 ABSA Top 10 Pinotage Competition found it particularly difficult to select just 10 winning wines from the 139 entries.

Allan Cheesman, former Director of Wine for Sainsbury's supermarkets in the UK and now a consultant to several wine businesses, said "I have been tasting wine for 37 years and this was a great experience, with all the superb wines, breathtaking Cape winelands and the sincerity of the Pinotage people. More than ten years ago Pinotage was like shepherd's pie, every granny made it differently. Today the Pinotage red wine from South Africa is a benchmark in the global world of wine as a top quality international variety. Pinotage and Chenin blanc are South Africa's icon red and white wines, you own them. It was almost impossible to select the top ten wines and I also would have had a tough time ranking the top thirty."

South African wine writer Neil Pendock said "it was a very hard task to select the top ten. More than 100 of the 139 wines which we tasted are of top quality, hardly any of those wines were disappointing. At least thirty wines deserve to be winners. The 2007 vintage produced most of the great wines."

Duimpie Bayly, Cape Wine Master and convener of the panel agreed. "The wines showed elegance and beautiful fruit, while sensible wood treatment created a fine balance of flavours. There were very few bad wines and the 2007 vintage stood out with wines of supreme quality. The competition was very strong and even choosing the top thirty wines would not have been easy."In the first two days all the entries were tasted and on the last day the final 28 wines, followed by the final 20 wines and out of those the 2009 Absa Top 10 Pinotage Competition winners were chosen. Each of the twenty finalist wines will be tested for micro-biological activity by an accredited laboratory to ensure it has a long shelve life with natural Pinotage characteristics.

The results will be announced on 27 August at the Val de Vie Wine and Polo Estate near Paarl.

The judges of the 2009 Absa Top 10 Pinotage Competition, pictured above are, from left: Duimpie Bayly, Francois Naudé, Allan Cheesman, Neil Pendock, Wendy Burridge, Chris Roux and Gert Boerssen.

17 July 2009

Coffee & Chocolate Comes to California

A frequent query from America asks where to purchase Diemersfontein’s cult ‘coffee’n’chocolate’ Pinotage and up to now the reply was that it wasn’t available in the USA.

But now it is.

Cape Ardor in San Francisco, California, now stocks the original Diemersfontein Pinotage 2008.

Owner Eric Matkovich tells me “we can ship direct, and have been already, to about 33 states. This unique style of Pinotage is a perfect accompaniment to salmon, roast venison and even chocolate mouse, and seems to be a wonderful introduction for Americans to the world of Pinotage.”

Cape Ardor also lists other Diemersfontein wines, including their premium Pinotage, Carpe Diem 2006.

For more information contact Cape Ardor; details at http://www.cape-ardor.com/

14 July 2009

Excellence Award for Stone Boat 2007 Pinotage

Stoneboat Vineyards 2007 Pinotage was a winner in this years Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in British Columbia Wines.

The annual award winning wines are chosen by an expert panel who taste the wines blind and are tasked with choosing no more than 12 winners. 2009 saw 248 entries and a record maximum 12 awards were made.

The official web-site hasn't yet been updated with this years results and I am indebted to wine writer John Schreiner, who was one of the judges, for posting on his blog.

For more about Stoneboat see here.


12 July 2009

Easy drinking Golden Kaan Pinotage 2006

Golden Kaan is a brand that has not yet reached the UK so I was pleased to be able to taste this bottle given to me at the London Wine fair. The question I forgot to ask is what ‘Kaan’ means. Google says it is Hindi for ‘ear’ and I suppose the map of Africa looks a little like an ear, but why a wine intended for the German market should use a Hindi name is beyond me.

Golden Kaan was set up five years ago as a partnership between the German Racke company and Paarl based wine giant KWV. The range, with its distinctive label design, was immediately successful in its target market and then expanded into the USA where it soon became a top seller in California -- as reported here.

This wine comes from the excellent 2006 vintage and was a hit with my dining partner who loved it for being ‘smooth and fruity with subdued tannins’. I found it a clean fresh modern style wine quite light bodied and fruit forward which slipped down very easily, though it didn't show overly much Pinotage characteristics.
Sealed with a plastic closure, presumably because of lack of US market acceptance of screwcaps.

10 July 2009

138 Entries for 2009 Pinotage Top 10

138 wines have been entered into this years Top 10 Pinotage Competition; that's two fewer than last years record entry.

But there are a record 14 brands entering the competition for the first time. And three of them are from the north island of New Zealand!

There are 74 wines from the 2007 vintage, 30 from 2008 and 25 from 2006. The two oldest wines are from 2004 and the youngest (very) is a 2009 vintage.

Judging of the competition will take place from Wednesday 15 to Friday 17 July 2009 which is a three months earlier than previous years.

09 July 2009

Virginia's SA Wine & Food Festival at Grayhaven Winery

Grayhaven Winery will be holding their fourth annual South African Wine and Food Festival this weekend over three days Friday 11 thru Sunday 13 July.

As well as pouring their own estate grown Pinotage, they'll have a selection of South African wines including Wildekrans 2007 Pinotage which was chosen as wine of the week in the current issue of Richmond Times-Despatch.

Grayhaven Winery is in central Virginia midway between Richmond and Charlottesville.

Visit the special Festival web-site for full details - http://www.southafricanfoodfest.com/

The Pinotage Club visited Grayhaven in September 2008 -- see our report and videos here