31 October 2016

WoTM – Bellingham Pinopasso 2014

Bellingham’s ‘Pinopasso’ 2014 is my Wine of the Month for September 2014.

I’m no marketer but I don’t think the name or label does this wine justice: it makes a reference to ‘passo’ as in ‘ripasso’ and ‘appassimento’, but how many people understand what these terms mean?

There  is no explanation on the back label, or indeed on the Bellingham website, which incidentally says the wine is 100% Pinotage when the linked fact sheet says it includes 20% Shiraz.

Bellingham say Pinopasso is made in the Repasso style, the wine after fermentation is ‘repassed’ [Italians say Appassimento] over the skins from which it was pressed, which still contain sugar. A fermentation then takes place which then adds much character to the wine, extra tannins and of course alcohol.

The wine is a homage to Italian Prisoners of War who worked at Bellingham and after the war settled in the Cape and built Bellinghams white wine cellar.

I hid the label and served it blind. ‘Smooth’, said one, ‘mature Bordeaux, or maybe Rioja’ said another.

It’s a delicious wine, ripe smooth – 9g/L residual sugar according to the fact sheet, but doesn’t taste sweet. American reviewer Steven Tanzer awarded it 90 points calling it a ‘very sexy wine’.

I’ll be showing the 2015 vintage of this wine at the American Wine Society National Conference on 5 November. I think it’ll impress them as much as it did me. Update 5 November 2016: It was the 2014 vintage that was shipped to the AWS conference, and they did love it, scoring equal top marks with attendees who were stunned by the value and taste at a +/- $12 retail price.


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