31 January 2013

WOTM - Wildekrans Osiris Pinotage

My wine of the month for January is Wildekrans ‘Osiris’ Barrel Select 2008. 

I bought it for 125 Rands from Houw Hoek Farm Stall, which is on the N2 road in the section after Sir Lowry’s Pass and just before the road descends from the mountains down to Bot River.   

We found we were stopping there more and more to have a delicious lunch in their restaurant, buy delicious farmers bread hot from the oven and their Portuguese style custard tarts. You can also buy the home-made salad dressing used in the restaurant. 

And always to browse in their wine shop which is strong on local labels.

There’re usually some wines to taste with an attendant who will follow browsers around pointing to various wines and telling you that they are “good”. 

This wine has a standout label with a golden image of Osiris which catches the light, and just as impressive, though  more subdued, is a Pinotage Top 10 winner sticker. Osiris has been dropped from the label of later vintages

I visited Wildekrans many years ago when Bartho Eksteen was the winemaker, but he moved on a decade or so ago and I believe the winery has been greatly renovated since then. I must make a point of visiting it next time I am in the Cape.

Anyway, this wine is fresh and full of rich silky ripe fruit flavours with a good structure and long finish. 

And, sadly, that was my last bottle.


14 January 2013

Top Pinotages 2013

Top Wine SA has just released their annual rating of Top Pinotages.


  • Diemersfontein Carpe Diem Pinotage
  • Kaapzicht Steytler Pinotage
  • Kanonkop Pinotage
  • L'Avenir Pinotage
  • Môreson Pinotage
  • Rijk's Pinotage
  • Simonsig Redhill Pinotage
  • Spier Private Collection Pinotage
  • Stellenzicht Golden Triangle Pinotage
  • Windmeul Pinotage Reserve

Top Wine SA, edited by leading wine writer and  journalist Mike Froud, collates scores awarded to South African wines by independent blind tasting panels around the world, mostly as part of international competitions,  to find which wines are the most successful.

Top Wine SA also produces a annual list of South Africa’s most highly rated wineries. See this and the Top wines for other varieties and wine types here.

Thanks to Mike Froud and Top Wine SA

12 January 2013

Lettie Teague Re-evaluates Pinotage

Lettie Teague writes about wine for the Wall Street Journal. She is on record as saying that she ‘despises’ Pinotage. 

In her latest article she tastes 24 wines.  She mostly finds what she was expecting 

“Sure enough, there were aromatic clouds of rubber tire wafting from many of the wines. There were some wines marked by pleasingly smoky, earthy notes as well—altogether, seven didn't announce themselves as Pinotage but simply as good wines made well.

Those seven are:

Aaldering 2009

Beyerskloof Diesel 2009

Durbanville Hills  (no vintage given)

Fort Ross 2007 (California)

House of Mandela (no vintage given)

Kaapzicht Steytler 2008

Simonsig Red Hill 2009

She also gives thumbs up to Warwick’s Cape Blend she names as Three Ladies.

House of Mandela is a negocient label owned by Nelson Madela’s children. There’s no information on the website about who makes the Pinotage.