31 May 2013

WOTM: Meinert Printer's Ink 2007 Pinotage

My Wine of the Month for May.

Finding Martin Meinert’s Pinotage on a hotel wine list in this remote place was a pleasant surprise. We had travelled twelve hours by ferry from Aberdeen to the Sheltand Isles, north-east of mainland Scotland, to explore the Neolithic stone circles buildings and tombs that abound there and in the Orkneys.
While waiting for the ferry that would take us to the Orkneys we had time for lunch at the Queens Hotel in Lerwick. Lerwick is both the most northerly and most easterly town in the UK and we were as close to Bergen in Norway as to Aberdeen.
The chef’s special that lunchtime was a fragrant lamb and chickpea curry. The lamb was local and the accompanying flat bread was homemade.

The wine, 2007 vintage, had sufficient bottle age to make a perfect pairing. Dark red, with sleek powerful fruit with a rich finish.
Martin Meinert was winemaker for some of South Africa’s top wineries, including Vergelegen, before he decided to go it alone. He has a private winery in the hills at the top of Devon Valley where he makes a range of wines under his Meinert label. He also partners Ken Forrester with whom he makes wine. He is the ‘M’ in their iconic ‘The FMC’ Chenin blanc.

For two videos of Martin making this 2007 Pinotage see www.pinotage.org/2007/04/martin-meinert-makes-pinotage-video.html

Shetland Isles, May 2013. Crossing a sand bar to the deserted St Ninian's Isle to visit the ruins of
St Ninian's Chapel which dates bach to the 12th Century.
The sky and sea are blue, the sun is hot but the wind is icy.

18 May 2013

Pinotage on Tap - 2013 Dates Announced

Diemersfontein winery have announced the dates and locations of their 9th annual Pinotage on Tap celebration of the new vintage of the original coffee'n'chocolate Pinotage.

7 September 2013 -- Pinotage On Tap Johannesburg

21 September 2013 -- Pinotage On Tap Durban

12 October 2013 -- Pinotage On Tap Cape Town at the winery

Tickets go on sale in  three weeks time on 10 June 2013

Details of pricing, location and guest bands here.


15 May 2013

Pinotage Association in California

Members of the Pinotage Association visited California's largest Pinotage producer, Loma Prieta winery in the hills above Los Gatos just south of San Francisco, this month.

The trip, led by Association chairman Beyers Truter, was  the prize for winemakers whose wines won the 2012 Perold Absa Cape Blend competition.

Loma Prieta owner/winemaker Paul Kemp is fourth from left in the photo, wearing a red shirt and standing next to Beyers Truter. (click on photo to see it all)

Closing date for entries to the 2013 Perold Absa Cape Blend and Pinotage Top 10 competitions is 19 June 2013.

Thanks to Paul Kemp for the photo.

12 May 2013

Beyerskloof Rose "a real drinkers’ wine"

Beyerskloof, a vintner of repute has their pinotage rosé listed here. Pinotage tends to the chocolate/coffee end of the flavour spectrum with less berry fruit and the strawberry nose. In many ways this makes it a perfect rosé, as chilled wine tends not to have much of a bouquet anyway, and the earthy character of the wine makes it a real drinkers’ wine. Even diehard red guys should be able to enjoy a glass.

If you’re looking for the one drink does all for the cottage or the deck I’d recommend this one. So go for it; try a glass. You won’t be disappointed.

James Romanow in The Leader Post, Southern Saskatchewan, Canada writing about Beyerskloof Pinotage Dry Rosé,  2010

Read more: http://www.leaderpost.com/life/Pinotage+ros%c3%a9+suitsdrinkers+tastes/8354883/story.html#ixzz2T5oxBCqp

03 May 2013

Bosman Vintage Report and Sugar Loading

Sugar Loading is a term new to me. This vintage report by Heinie Nel, viticulturist at Bosman Family Vineyards, explains what it is and how he uses the process to pick his Pinotage and Shiraz grapes at the point they reach ripeness.

Heinie Nel, viticulturist at Bosman Family Vineyards
The 2013 harvest is in the cellar and we are very excited about the quality of this vintage.

The growing season started off quite good. Our rainfall in the previous year (2011) was 537 mm and during this year (2012) we measured 727 mm of rain. We started off with good soil moisture and enough water for the growing season. Our own little "Hurricane Sandy" struck from November 28 - 30 2012. We had wind speed of up to 110 km/h, the average being 65 km/h. Many of the shoots and leaves in the vineyards were lost and damaged. The vineyards never recovered fully and immediately after the wind, we had maximum temperatures of 39°C - 42°C. Fortunately there was very little sunburn damage, but at this time we were all starting to become a little negative about the season.

Things did shift to become more favorable during the second half of December and the first half of January when temperatures were cool which is perfect for veraison.

Most of the cultivars were estimated to be about ten days later than normal except for Pinotage and Viognier which was estimated to be 5-6 days earlier.
We do sugar loading on the red cultivars to determine this. Sugar loading is when we take 100 berries, weight them and test its sugar. All measurements are plotted on a graph and when it stops ascending, you know the grapes are starting to reach full ripeness.

For example, we normally harvest the Shiraz on 25-26 ° Balling, but with sugar loading we established that we already achieve full ripeness on 24 ° Balling. During the tasting of these wines we had very positive results. We will continue with this practice to see whether we can harvest grapes at lower sugar levels and still reach optimum ripeness.

Source Bosman Family Vineyards Autumn 2013 (May) Newsletter