24 February 2010

Pinotage is a Majestic New Year Resolution

Lawrence Bowden manages Majestic’s Leith Walk wine warehose. His new year resolution is to “be more adventurous; to stop playing it safe and get out of the repetitive gastronomic rut I’ve been in for the past year. I’ve stopped buying wines I know I like in order to get to grips with varieties and styles I normally avoid and I’ve filled my wine rack with Pinotage.”

He reports on three Pinotage’s from the Majestic range:

Zalze Pinotage 2008 - “By the second glass I was nearly enjoying it”

Beyerskloof Reserve 2007 - “fruit here shifts to darker berries” with “hints of coffee”

Kanonkop Pinotage 2007 – “have to say that, despite not being the world’s biggest fan of Pinotage, I really did enjoy this wine”

Read Lawrences full report on Majestic’s blog here

22 February 2010

Canada's The View Winery produces Second Pinotage

Another Canadian winery has joined the Pinotage family. The View Winery in Canada's Okanagan Valley wine region is about to release their second vintage, the 2008 Red Shoe Pinotage.

"Our first release, Pinotage 2007, is a delicate medium bodied red. It is lightly oaked and is quite fruit forward with cherry aromas and flavours. We produced 260 cases," says Jennifer Turton-Molgat.

"Pinotage 2008 has quite a different profile - an extended maceration compared to that of the 2007 has achieved a much fuller bodied, complex Pinotage. The peppery spiciness of the Cinsaut shows itself in this vintage. It was aged for 12 months in a combination of Hungarian, French and American oak barrels."

The View Winery will be bottling it in the middle of March and producing approximately 585 cases. They have four acres of Pinotage ranging in age from 8 - 10 years.

Jennifer tells me "the vines are thriving on our property. The early ripening nature of Pinotage appears to suit our climate and location and we are excited to be planting another five acres in the spring.

"I am happy to say that, more and more, the response from the public at tastings is, "Oh Pinotage! I've heard of that. 'Or, "Pinotage! I tried a great one last week!', instead of the response I used to get back in 2007 when I first started marketing ours which was, 'Pinotage... What's that a blend of?'

Can't wait to taste it!


15 February 2010

Pinotage Party Roundup

One message from Friday’s Pinotage Party, organised by Dezel of My Vine Spot, in Virginia, is that participants in the USA had difficulty in finding Pinotage.

image copyright Dezel Quillen
used with Dezel's kind permission

Veronica Castella of in Tampa, Florida went to five wine stores and found only one bottle of Nederburg ‘Winemakers Reserve’ 2007. “It was the only one in town. There was not even a second bottle. There were no other Pinotages at all anywhere,” she told me. Veronica and three colleagues tasted the wine blind against a California Pinot Noir costing twice as much and the Pinotage did pretty well, being the favourite of one taster. See the video of the tasting here.

Steven at terroirists.net couldn’t find any varietal Pinotages in Walla Walla, Washington so bought Gallo’s Sebeka Shiraz-Pinotage 2007 which they thought was a “non-offensive wine with a somewhat offensive finish.

Tanisha of the grapevine4wine.blogspot.com in Washington DC opened Golden Kaan 2007 which she found “amazing” with food.

Ben from Vintology Wine Blog in west Texas chose Fleur Du Cap 2007 which he “kind of enjoyed it overall” although its smell reminded him of “ham”.

In Brazil, Keith from BrainWines who instigated the Pinotage Party with Dezel tasted three Pinotages, Kaapzicht Estate 2002 (“Kaapzicht folks obviously are great
winemakers, as this held up beautifully - long after their recommended aging length”
)and Hill & Dale 2007 (“Brilliant”) from South Africa, and Marcus James Pinotage 2007 (“Simply quite terrible”) from Brazil.

Sue Courtney at New Zealand's WineoftheWeek.com opened Kerr Farm Kumeu Pinotage 2004 from Auckland and said "a fascinating wine, it's changing in the glass as we sip it - and it reconfirms why I like this intriguing, funky and always interesting variety called Pinotage."

Dezel himself tried Spier 'Private Collection' 2006 which he found "mouth-filling and ripe". I thought he'd be tasting a Virginia Pinotage!

I brought to the party Beyerskloof 2008 and Kanonkop 2006 and described them here

Many thanks to Dezel for organising this.

12 February 2010

Pinotage Party - Beyerskloof 2008 - Kanonkop 2006

Encouraged by Dezel's Pinotage Party I opened a Kanonkop 2006 and Beyerskloof 2008

Beyerskloof Pinotage 2008 with its white label is the standard bottling from Pinotage king Beyers Truter's winery. The 2008 example is just delicious with bags of ripe blackberry and strawberry fruit and soft tannins on the finish. This one is lovely to drink on its own and it makes a cracking match with a takeaway from the Indian restaurant. I love this wine for its sheer drinkability. It is classic Pinotage.

Pinotage 2008
WO Stellenbosch
abv 14%

Kanonkop Estate is probably the most famous Pinotage producer internationally. From the time they started bottling their own wines more than forty years ago they have specialised in only a few wines and varieties of which Pinotage is one. They were among the first to plant the variety and now have one of the oldest Pinotage vineyards planted with sixty-year old gnarled stubby bush vines on a low clay hill.

Winemaker Abrie Beeslaar (pictured right)Abrie Beeslaar in the old Pinotage vineyard is only Kanonkop’s third winemaker and he smoothly took the baton from Beyers Truter and ran with it, winning the IWSC International Winemaker of the Year award in 2008

2006 was a good vintage. I first tasted this at the winery on release in March 2007 and I was delighted with it. In June 2008 I said it was “showing all the signs of being another cracker. It is elegant, showing restrained berry fruits, balanced by tannins and fruit acids,” and I purchased a couple of cases intending to age them.

Opening this bottle for Dezels’s Pinotage Party I was struck first by its inviting mulberry bouquet. But on the palate is seemed to have closed up. The spicy berry flavours, so noticeable when it was young, were subdued. What we had here was a medium bodied, well balanced beautifully coloured restrained tight wine, enjoyable and serious but not as exuberant as I’d like. The maturation chart on the back label (see below) shows 2010 as the year it should reach optimum drinking, but I think I’ll age it more for maximum enjoyment.

Kanonkop Estate
Pinotage 2006
WO Estate Wine Simonsberg-Stellenbosch
14.5% abv

06 February 2010

Join the Pinotage Party next Friday 12 February 2010

Dezel Quillen at My Vine Spot is organising a Pinotage Party next Friday 12 February 2010 and you're all invited.

Dezel says
Remember the 60’s hit by Nina Simone “Don’t let me be misunderstood”? Well that song title fits Pinotage like a leather glove. The idea here is to show that Pinotage is a wine worth buying and trying despite what you may have heard
Idea is everyone opens a bottle of Pinotage and posts their impressions of it next Friday. Post on your blog or at Twitter #pinotageparty

Dezel will co-ordinate, so contact him with your blog details.

If you don't blog or tweet just use the comment form at My Vine Spot or email Dezel with your tasting note.

Good on you, Dezel!!