28 February 2012

Wine Enthusiast Prefers Pinotage Blends

A correspondent with a mathematical bent has analysed scores from Wine Enthusiast magazine and suggests that submitting varietal Pinotage's to the magazine for review is a mistake.

Over a period of 13 vintages (1996 to 2009), Wine Enthusiast magazine has reviewed 289 Pinotages.

During that period, they have only awarded 22 (7.6%) scores of 90 or higher. The highest scores they have given are 92 twice, both to Remhoogte blends from vintage 2003 where Pinotage played a very minor role (perhaps 20% to 30%). Of the 20 others scoring 90 or 91, 5 (25%) were red blends as well with Pinotage in a minor role.

What is therefore perhaps fair to conclude:

1. The highest score a Pinotage will ever receive from this publication is 92. (We also note one of the finest Pinotages ever produced, the Beyerskloof 2007 Diesel Pinotage (Stellenbosch) only received a score of 90!)

2. In general, if a producer wants his Pinotage to score 90 or greater, we suggest using Pinotage as a minor blending component.

3. Given the buying public’s infatuation with scores of 90 or greater, we suggest they not submit their Pinotage to Wine Enthusiast but rather to other publications.


16 February 2012

Bosman Harvesting Pinotage - Video

Bosman Family Vineyards have started harvesting their Pinotage and took along a video camera.

In the first video, above, Heinie Nel, viticulturist at Bosman Family Vineyards, give a rundown on the pre 2012 season, then in the video below, winemaker Corlea Fourie explains how they decide when to pick.

Follow Bosman's vintage at blog - bosmanwines.co.za/blog/

15 February 2012

Maryland Joins the Pinotage Family

US east-coast state Maryland is growing and making Pinotage.

Paul Vigna of The Patriot-News tasted Pinotage barrel samples at Woodhall Wine Cellars in Parkton, Maryland on Saturday 11 February.

Paul's favourite was the Pinotage. "While he's [winemaker Chris Kent] making more this year than last of the South African native grape, there still isn't much, so futures are limited to a half-case. Jenny Schmidt, who planted the Pinotage vines a few years ago at her Golden Run Vineyard, is planning to plant more, perhaps as early as this spring. It's a pleasant-tasting wine with a rich color, although not as dark as the Merlot. At this point, it has as much appeal because of its uniqueness; no other winery in the state makes it."

This is the second vintage of Pinotage made at Woodhall. I have tried without success to contact the grower to get details of Pinotage plantings.

Thanks to Paul Vigna for permission to use his photograph. Read Paul's full report here.


12 February 2012

Pinotage from Perold's Welgevallen

In my book PINOTAGE I described visiting Welgevallan, Professor Perold’s Stellenbosch University home and seeing students working in a small winery in the grounds. Now the winery is open to the public for the sale of their wines made from grapes grown in the university vineyards.

And the Pinotage grapes have a direct line of descent to one seedling grown from a seed Perold bred and planted in the small garden of Welgevallen eighty-seven years ago.

De Laan is the label, named for a walking lane used by courting students that runs alongside the banks of the Eerste River in front of Welgevallan.

I tasted and bought the fruity well balanced Pinotage and elegant plush Cape Blend (Pinotage/Cabernet Sauvignon/Petit Verdot).

Perold’s house is much as it was when he lived there, apart from the addition of security bars, a wheelchair access ramp and a satellite dish. The bungalow is currently used by a faculty of the university.

Welgevallen is located near the end of Suid Wal street which runs parallel to Dorp Street. Coming from the R44 onto Dorp Street turn right onto Piet Retief then left onto Suid Wal.


07 February 2012

Pinotage on Tap (POT) comes to the UK

The annual Pinotage on Tap (POT) festival is coming to England. POT, hosted by Diemersfontein Wines, regularly attracts thousands of fans to the wine farm in Wellington, South Africa and in recent times POTs have also been held in Johannesburg and Durban.

26 & 27 May 2012 will see the first international POT to be staged. The location will be Poyning Grange Farm, Fulking, South Downs, Sussex, near Brighton. Tickets are £65.00 per person, It will be a two-day festival, and visitors can choose to buy a ticket for either one day or both.

Diemersfontein say the festival will involve a variety of culinary treats, from various bowl foods and canapés, to the much spoken about "strawberry and chocolate fountains". Wine lovers can enjoy a fantastic day out, whilst sipping this delectable wine, eating a variety of interesting foods, playing games and listening to great live band music. Promising to be an authentic South African party in every possible way, with typical South African cuisine and entertainment by South African musicians.

And of course, Diemersfonteins original Coffee Chocolate Pinotage will be flowing from the barrel, literally "Pinotage on tap"

More information about the event can be found on the Pinotage on Tap 2012 page, as well as Facebook and Twitter.

Ticket sales will go live on Computicket on 1 March 2012. Enquiries to online@diemersfontein.co.za


04 February 2012

Landzicht Pinotage from Northern cape

Landzicht Pinotage 2011 was surprisingly pale, it was more a clairette — a dark rose. That wasn’t the only surprise in store. It was just 12% alcohol, and it came from the Northern Cape.

I think this was the first South African wine I’ve ever had that wasn’t grown in the Western Cape, the province at the tip of Africa which has Cape Town as its government seat.

Landzicht wines are made in the town of Douglas about 900 kilometres or 560 miles north-west of Cape Town.

Landzicht Pinotage 2011 was light bodied and berry fruited with gentle refreshing acidity, a nice drinking wine. The low alcohol level was very welcome.

The Landzicht website at www.landzicht.co.za isn't working at time of writing.

03 February 2012

California’s Oldest Pinotage Vineyard Sold

Steltzner Vineyards, on the Silverado Trail in Napa Valley’s Stags Leap region has been sold to the Plumpjack Group.

Steltzner’s vineyards were first planted in the 1880s and were acquired by Dick Steltzner in 1965. Steltzner planted Pinotage in the late 1970’s after he returned from a trip to South Africa, although his first varietal Pinotage release was the 1996 vintage.

The property has 36 acres planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese as well as Pinotage.

The Plumpjack Group owns a number of resorts and two Napa wineries, Cade Estate and Plumpjack, a highly reputed California producer of premium Cabernet Sauvignon. Plumpjack’s plans for Pinotage are not known.

The Steltzner family retain the Steltzner brand name and will continue to produce wines under that brand from their other properties.