24 April 2010

Diemersfontein -- London Concert

Diemersfontein -- famous for creating the original coffee'n'chocolate 'Peoples Pinotage -- are hosting a fundraising concert on London on Wednesday 26th May at St James’s Church, Piccadilly, London W1.

All proceeds from the concert go to a support programme for exceptional young artists and singers and Wellington Preparatory School.

Headlining the concert is soprano Pretty Yende now attending the student programme at La Scala.

Cost of the concert is £35 and for an additional £15 you get priority seating, and meet the artists after the concert at a wine and canapes reception at Hotel Le Meridien opposite the church.

Full details at www.diemersfontein.co.za/london-concert.html


23 April 2010

Middelvlei release Free Run Pinotage

Middelvlei Estate have released a free run Pinotage.

The 2008 vintage wine is made from juice released before the grapes were pressed. The weight of grapes in hoppers squashes out some juice before the press is operated. This juice is considered the purist and best with fewer tannins but there is never very much of it.

Middelvlei Free Run Pinotage 2008 is priced at 84.50R.

22 April 2010

WINE magazine Pinotage tastings

In June WINE magazine will be holding seated Pinotage tastings in Johannesburg and Cape Town of top scoring wines from their Pinotage category tasting presented by a "leading Pinotage winemaker".

Cost is 150R, full details are here.

Dates and locations are

Date: 3 June 2010
Time: 18:30
Venue: Crowne Plaza The Rosebank, Rosebank

Cape Town
Date: 10 June 2010
Time: 18:30
Venue: Mount Nelson Hotel, Gardens


20 April 2010

Steltzner Pinotage with the Casual Connoisseur

Kristin Hanson, a native Californian, is a Napa Valley resident, attorney, writer, artist, and self-described “casual connoisseur” of California wine and food. This year she discovered Pinotage from California's oldest vineyard, Steltzner. Kristin writes in her Casual Connoisseur blog :

Steltzner Vineyards (“Steltzner”), located in the Stag’s Leap District in Napa Valley, is known for producing an excellent Pinotage each year and is one of the few local wineries to do so.

A quality Pinotage is recognized for being medium-bodied and subtly flavored. Steltzner’s 2005 Pinotage accomplishes both of these elements. The 2005 Pinotage presents a nose which has an ever-so-slight floral note of lavender, warm allspice, cherry and an essence of smoke. In the mouth, the wine is a medium-bodied red wine with a smooth feel. The tannins are not overwhelming (nor should they be), which allows the fruit flavors found in the wine to burst forth.

Soft notes of cherry (which is characteristic of grapes from the Stags Leap District), spice and a tiny dash of white pepper dance across the palate. Red wine lovers should readily embrace this Pinotage and wine aficionados who typically wrestle with the overly bold, tannic red wines of Napa Valley should love this wine, too. If the wine’s mere accessibility is not enough, given the characteristics of both the nose and the mouth, it is readily apparent that this Pinotage will pair beautifully with a wide range of foods. In short, the discovery of Pinotage is a giant “win” due to its versatility.

Kristin pairs the Steltzner Pinotage with Honey Lavender Barbequed Chicken and Oven-Roasted Potatoes Au Gratin noting that "just as lavender will sometimes pair well with certain Pinot Noirs, it is equally well-suited to Pinotage".

She concludes with the advice to "explore Pinotage. It is a great red wine that most people can enjoy and if served at a gathering, it is a great conversation piece as most will learn something new".

Read Kristin's full report with recipes and pictures of her recommended dishes at The Casual Connoisseur

19 April 2010

WSJ's take on Pinotage

The Wall Street Journal let go of its well loved wine columnists John Brecher and Dorothy Gaiter after 579 articles.

Their replacements are Jay McInerney and Lettie Teague who introduced themselves in a question and answer session as follows:

Jay: Well, is there a wine that you really don’t like?

Lettie: Pinotage, the red grape of South Africa (and fortunately nowhere else, at least that I know of). I loathe Pinotage. How a wine like that was actually deliberately created is one of the great vinous mysteries to me. It has all the charm of a burnt tire in a glass. Years ago when I served a Pinotage to a neophyte wine friend of mine, he actually suggested I not only dump out the wine but bury the bottle in my backyard. True story. In other words, I know I’m not alone in hating on Pinotage.

Of course it could be a ploy to encourage Wines of South Africa to bring them to the Cape to change Letties opinion. Hating Pinotage is no bar to such trips as certain English writers well know.

07 April 2010

Working Kanonkop's 2010 Vintage

Riaan Smit has written ( for winegoggle.co.za) a most interesting article about working the 2010 Kanonkop vintage.

He says
"Abrie [Beeslaar -- winemaker] described the vintage as “difficult” because of patches of uneven ripeness in the grapes, but also expressed satisfaction with “what we have in our tanks”. He reckons the 2010 Kanonkop wines will most likely not have big tannic structures and this will allow the expression of fruit in the wine to be more upfront.

The Pinotage yield at Kanonkop was down by more than half. A Black South Easter in October last year, during the crucial flowering stage, blew away more than half the normal crop. But a recent tank tasting of 10 Pinotages revealed some promising wine. It was a blind tasting for me – I could not connect block numbers on the samples to the age of the vines in the various blocks – and the wine from the 1953 block stood out prominently. This and some other Pinotage are undergoing malolactic fermentation in new French oak barrels."

Riaan's article shows the hard work involved when youwant tomake world class wine. Please read the entire item at winegoggle.co.za


01 April 2010

Corbans 1967 Pinotage

As readers of my book will know, New Zealand has been making Pinotage for almost as long as South Africa.

Corbans were the first to release a varietal NZ Pinotage and though this label is not from that earliest vintage it is evidence of New Zealand's long history with the variety.

Thanks to Sue Courtney of www.wineoftheweek.com who successfully bidded for the label, on my behalf, from a NZ auction site.