31 July 2017

WoTM Chamonix Greywacke Pinotage 2011

My Wine of the Month for July is Chamonix Greywacke Pinotage 2011.

The 2.5 hectare vineyard at 350 metres altitude is planted on Greywacke (grey-wacky) soil, a grey sandstone with a high clay content and plenty of coarse-grained particles giving stony, free-draining soils.

This wine undergoes two fermentations; a carbonic maceration in stainless steel is followed by a second fermentation when partially  dried grapes are added in a similar way to the Italian ripasso method. Then after malolactic fermentation the wine is matured for 18 months in 228ℓ French oak barrels.

On the palate the wine feels very smooth with oodles of sweet fruit developing into a spicy mid-palate, balanced by a slight tartness with a raisiny thread. Definitely a serious food wine.

Cape Chamonix ‘Greywacke’ Pinotage 2011
WO Franschhoek
abv 14.5%


28 July 2017

Pinotage in the Press this Month

Pinotage has appeared in the press more than usual this month. Here are ones I've spotted:

Keep an eye out for their 2011 Karma Vineyard Pinotage, an award winner with aromas of plum jam, chocolate cake and roasted pecans says Soshi Parks after visiting Loma Prieta winery in   Where to Taste, Eat & Stay in the SantaCruz Mountains Wine Region on lifestyle site 7X7.

Writing in Forbes, Katie Kelly Bell says she has found Pinotage ‘historically disappointing’ but not Kanonkop Pinotage 2015
Wowza.   This Pinotage is loaded with rich succulent black cherry and black plum fruits. It all gets stitched together with dark chocolate, spice and mineral notes. Richly textured and full -bodied ….with  fruit of deep complexity. A terrific wine.  

Eric Hanson visited Canada’s Okanagan Valley for RichmondNews to report that Stoneboat specializes in Pinots. Their Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Pinotage are delicious examples. The Stoned, a blend of Pinot and Pinotage has nothing to do with drugs. Instead it celebrates the rocky terrain that adds minerality and terroir to their wines.

The UK’s Swindon Advertiser  recommended KWV Earth’s Essence as a barbecue wine:  

If you're on a quest for a bold pinotage, here's a good example of how appealing South Africa's signature grape can be when the damson fruit has an upfront sweetness and builds intensity with notes of cranberries, spice and bush teas. The smooth tannins have plenty of grip without being aggressive. Enjoy with a gourmet burger.

Lauren Hartzenberg, writing in South Africas bizcommunity.com , interviewed Lauren Buzzeo, the managing editor of  US-based publication Wine Enthusiast who told her:

 I'm really excited by the quality of South African Chardonnays and also Pinotages. It's a new day for Pinotage - time to move on from those negative perceptions of acetone and burnt rubber flavours. There's a new generation of wine consumers keen to taste interesting and unusual wines. They aren't aware of the baggage around Pinotage and are ready and willing to taste the refined and elegant wines of today.”

Gina Birch interviewed Nick Gebers, owner and winemaker of Post House Wines in Floridas  The News-Press. One of her favourites was Post House  Missing Virgin. This full-bodied blend of pinotage and petit verdot is named after a stamp.

But she has some odd ideas 

Pinotage vines are the result of grafting pinot noir and cinsault, and are one of the most widely planted red varieties in South Africa. It’s a bush vine, meaning some of the grapes can actually sit in the dirt and at times you can taste the dust.

As do Tom Marquardt and Patrick Darr writing in Maryland’s Capital Gazette who repeat the old canards about Pinotage, but when they actually taste Simonsig Redhill Pinotage  2014  they found it certainly proved to be an exception. This Pinotage presents as an elegant, high-end cabernet sauvignon with bright cassis, black cherry and cedar flavors and nose.
It’s a great wine but it’s not an exception.  They conclude Maybe we should keep our minds open about pinotage in the future.   Yep!

 Julia Jenkins, writing about rosés in England’s Herts Advertiser says Jeremy Borg’s Rosalind Rosé from the Pinotage grape in South Africa are elegant yet bursting with ripe berry fruit flavours and are great with food.

Thomas Rydberg in Ekstra Bladet  tested wines newly arrived in Denmark in cooperation  with wine magazine DinVinGuide. They found the best purchase was a Pinotage from South Africa.

Spier Private Collection Pinotage 2016, South Africa. 5 stars OUR BEST BUY

Dark carrots in the smell. Nicely concentrated with plum, licorice, red meat, pepper and vanilla in the taste. Well done with a nice acid. Spiced nice finish.
(translation courtesy of Google Translate)

14 July 2017

2017 Pinotage Top 10 Finalists

This year sees the 21st Absa Top 10 Pinotage Competition, and in recognition of the anniversary there are 21 finalists from which the winning Top 10 will be selected.

The 21 wines being considered for Absa Top 10 Pinotage status this year are:

Beyerskloof Pinotage Reserve 2015 – WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker Anri Truter
Bon Courage Pinotage 2015 – WO Robertson, Winemakers Jacques Bruwer & Philip Viljoen
Delheim Pinotage 2012 – WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker Altus Treurnicht
Delheim Vera Cruz Pinotage 2014 – WO Simonsberg-Stellenbosch, Winemaker Altus Treurnicht
Diemersfontein Carpe Diem Reserve 2015 – WO Wellington, Winemaker Francoise Roode
Flagstone Writer's Block Single Vineyard Pinotage 2015, WO Breedekloof, Winemaker Gerhard Swart
Kanonkop Pinotage 2012 – WO Simonsberg-Stellenbosch, Winemaker Abrie Beeslaar
Lanzerac Pionier Pinotage 2014 – WO Jonkershoek Valley in Stellenbosch, Winemaker Wynand Lategan
Lanzerac Pionier Pinotage 2015 – WO Jonkershoek Valley in Stellenbosch, Winemaker Wynand Lategan
Marianne Pinotage 2015 – WO Simonsberg-Paarl, Winemaker Jos van Wyk
Môreson MKM 2015 – Franschhoek Cellar, WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker Clayton Reabow
Môreson The Widow Maker Pinotage 2015 – Franschhoek Cellar, WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker Clayton Reabow
Neethlingshof The Short Story Collection The Owl Post Pinotage 2015 – WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker De Wet Viljoen
Neil Ellis Bottelary Hills Pinotage 2015 – WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker Warren Ellis
Neil Ellis Pinotage 2015 – WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker Warren Ellis
Rickety Bridge Pinotage 2015 – Franschhoek Cellar, WO Coastal, Winemaker Wynand Grobler
Stellenbosch Vineyards Bushvine Pinotage 2015 – WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker Abraham de Villiers
La Cave Pinotage 2016 – Wellington Wines, Winemakers Francois van Niekerk & Chris Smit
La Cave Pinotage 2015 – Wellington Wines, Winemakers Francois van Niekerk & Chris Smit
Windmeul Pinotage Reserve 2015 – WO Paarl/Coastal, Winemaker Abraham van Heerden
Windmeul Pinotage 2015 –WO Coastal, Winemaker Abraham van Heerden

The winning Top 10 wines for 2017 will be announced on 3 August at   an award ceremony at Cavalli Estate, Somerset West.

Congratulations to all.