21 September 2011

Hillside's Last Pinotage

Hillside Estate, on the eastern shore of Lake Okanagan just north of Penticton, is one of five wineries in Canada making Pinotage. But no more. After three successful years the 2009 vintage, bottled in October 2010, is sadly the last.

The winery make a wide range of wines and have decided to concentrate on varieties they grow themselves. I learned that Hillside doesn't grow Pinotage but obtain the grapes from Stoneboat Vineyards in Oliver some 40 kms south.

At the tasting room, pictured below

their 2009 Pinotage was listed with the words 'sold out' written over the message that because of demand purchasers were limited to three bottles.

However Hillside's bistro has some Pinotage stocks remaining for sale by the glass, so we decided to lunch there and sample the last release from this winery.

The wine was taut and restrained with some tight tannins. Dark cherry and blackberry flavours over a meaty core and forceful tannins. This is a big and serious wine which would reward keeping. But the only way to do that is to persuade the bistro to sell you a bottle at bistro prices. Alternatively it is currently available by the glass for $9.50.

Hillside Estate
Pinotage 2009
13% abv

15 September 2011

Pinotage is Best Cheese Match

Pinotage, which is the national red grape of South Africa, is one of the best kept secrets in the wine world, as it almost always works beautifully with hard cheeses, such as Gouda, cheddar, and Gruyére. It is often quite inexpensive, but the lower-priced versions can be inconsistent, often throwing an unpleasant taste of burnt rubber on the finish. Yet when paired with almost any hard cheese, it seems to come to life.

"Dark Lady of the Labyrinth" is 100 percent Pinotage of very high quality. Black cherry, melted liquorice, and spicy cloves wrap around a core of dark chocolate and rich coffee. While a lesser Pinotage works well with a mild cheddar or Swiss, it takes a full-bodied Pinotage like "Dark Lady" to stand up to the intense flavors of a powerful cheese such as the Beemster Classic.

Gloucester Times - Massachussets, USA 13 Sep 2011

Dark Lady Pinotage is produced by Doolhof Estate, Wellington