31 December 2015

WoTM - SAAM Mountain Vineyards Pinotage 2013

My Wine of The Month for December 2015 is SAAM Mountain Vineyards Pinotage 2013.

 I  often choose it at Chez Mumtaj which features French-Asian fusion cooking by talented owner-chef Chad Rahman. But no more.

I visited this month with a group of friends and asked for a bottle of the Saam Pinotage before seeing the wine list. It wasn’t too long before we requested another bottle but the wine menu no longer had Saam. The waiter told us that there were only three more bottles in the cellar. We took that as a challenge and there were none left in the cellar when we departed.

We were told their supplier no longer listed Saam, which surprised me as Bibendum (one the UK's biggest wine companies) is their supplier and Saam was a joint project between Bibendum on the marketing and distribution side, and Perdeberg Winery on the production, as I wrote here.

Saam Pinotage was an excellent pairing with Chez Mumtaj’s innovative cuisine. Opaque almost black in the dim restaurant light, with a berry nose and restrained dense blackberry flavours. There’s spice and that inherent Pinotage sweetness that goes so well with spicy food, also soft tannins to give body and a good length.

Farewell Saam…

17 December 2015

Wine Enthusiast Picks Lovingston Pinotage

Wine Enthusiast’s tasting team were asked to recommend American wines to have with Thanksgiving. 

Alexander Peartree, Assistant Tasting Director, chose Lovingston’s 2013 Gilbert’s Vineyard Pinotage from Virginia, which he says “seamlessly balances racy red-fruit tones with savory herbs and smoky game. It’s easy to pair alongside the cornucopia of dishes on the table, yet it also lends an exotic kick to an otherwise traditional affair.”

Read the article here.


14 December 2015

After 25 Years Dave Eckert Gets Pinotage

Dave Eckert didn’t take to Pinotage when he first tasted it in the 1980’s. But now he’s found three that impress enough to feature on his Thanksgiving table. 

“Now I know why they created Pinotage all those years ago. It’s just took me 25 years and three new bottlings to figure it out,” he writes in the Kansas City Star.

The three are Kanonkop, Simonsig and Stellar, although the article doesn’t mention their vintages.

Dave Eckert is the producer and host of “Culinary Travels With Dave Eckert,” shown on USA's PBS-TV and Wealth TV for 12 seasons.

Read the article here

30 November 2015

WoTM - Anura Pinotage Reserve 2011

My Wine of the Month for November 2015 is Anura Pinotage Reserve 2011, a very satisfying classic Pinotage with a fine sturdy core, sweet berry fruit edge and just a trace of mocha.

Anura is a bit off my radar, they dont seem to be available in the UK so theyre not the first producer that comes to mind when I think Pinotage, but I’ve enjoyed the few I’ve encountered and they have always impressed. Ill get some more when Im  in the Cape in a couple of months time.

I wasn’t the only one to be impressed with this vintage, as it was a worthy Top 10 winner in 2013.   

28 November 2015

Kanonkop Sweeps IWSC Trophies

Kanonkop Estate was the toast of the IWSC Awards Banquet held on Thursday evening 26 November 2015 in the splendour of London's Guildhall.

Kanonkop won three Trophys
  • Abraham Perold Pinotage Trophy for the 2012 Pinotage, sponsored by The Pinotage Association
  • Abrie Beeslaar won Winemaker of the Year Trophy 2015. This is the second time Abrie has won.
  • Kanonkop Estate won South African Wine Producer of the Year Trophy

IWSC says 
The prestigious, Winemaker of the Year 2015 is Abrie Beeslaar, who has been recognised for his work at Kanonkop Wine Estate, South Africa. Having received the award previously in 2008, Abrie is taking his favourite grape, Pinotage, to new realms of quality - striving for balance structure and elegance. 

Black Label Pinotage 2010, Pinotage 2012 and Black Label Pinotage 2012 all received Gold Outstanding medals, but the judges selected the Pinotage 2012 for the Pinotage Trophy.

I tasted all three at the event and the Trophy winner was immediately beguilingly attractive and I think that gave it the edge. The two Black Labels were tighter and more closed, presumably having been made for longer keeping with a higher proportion of new oak.

The 2012 Black Label had 18 months in 100% new oak barrels, and the 2010 16 months in 100% new oak barrels, the 2102 Pinotage had 16 months in 75% new and 25% second fill barrels.

Citation for Kanonkop Pinotage 2012
Abrie Beeslaar accepts the Abraham Perold Pinotage Trophy from Peter May representing the Pinotage Association
Deidre Taylor, Kanonkop Brand Manager, accepts the Abraham Perold Pinotage Trophy from Peter May representing the Pinotage Association

04 November 2015

Grinder Pinotage wins

Sommelier Mark Cochrane held a tasting for The Millstone, Ontario, newspaper comparing "the traditional wines made with 'South African signature grapes' against the new style of wines being planted in South Africa."

Chenin blanc and Pinotage in Team Tradition competed against Team Newbies'  Sauvignon blanc and 60/40 Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon blend.

Result? "The overwhelming preference was for the older style wines like Pinotage and Chenin Blanc which demonstrates that some wines can stand the test of time."

But not too old style for the red as the Pinotage was The Grinder, one of the new fashioned  'coffee/chocolate' wines.

Mark bought the wines from Ontario's  monopoly LCBO and it seems someone there really likes that style as they form half the 8 varietals available!

Read the full report in The Millstone from Mississippi Mills Ontario, Canada.

31 October 2015

WoTM - Spier 21 Gables Pinotage 2010

Frans Smit and his team are producing some excellent wines at Spier. Premium range ’21 Gables’ is the bees’ knees where Pinotage is concerned.

This beauty from the 2010 vintage is my Wine of The Month for October 2015. It is lusciously silky and mouth filling with a rich intensity of fruit and soft supple tannins. 

It was a Pinotage Top 10 winner in 2012. Hand sorted, aged 18 months and a barrel selection.

30 October 2015

5 Platter Stars for 4 Pinotages

Just four varietal Pinotage's gained 5 Stars in Platter's 2016 South African Wine Guide. They are

Beeslaar Wines Pinotage 2013

Rijk’s Reserve Pinotage 2011

Spier 21 Gables Pinotage 2013

Windmeul Cellar Pinotage 2014

And I spotted only one Cape Blend, Kaapzicht Wine Estate Vision 2012 

There are  83 5 Star winners. 

See the full list at https://outofthepress.wordpress.com/2015/10/29/platter-2016-revealed-2/

Congrats to all..