15 September 2017

Olifantsberg Family Vineyards Pinotage 2016 with winemaker Elizma Visser

To Kensington’s Olympia for Wines of South Africa’s annual Intrepid exhibition. Last year the weather was so hot ice melted faster than it could chill wines, this year was cool with heavy outbreaks of icy rain.
Elizma Visser
At Olifantsberg Family Vineyards stand I listened in to winemaker-viticulturist Elizma Visser (above) explaining their philosophy which is to “pick early, do wholeberry fermentation and try not to over-extract,” to an enthusiastic audience.  Elizma  is in her third year at Olifantsberg, previously she worked at Waverly Hills and Bilton.

I can’t recall encountering Olifantsberg before so I was keen to try a wine new to me. Their 2016 Pinotage from a 10 year old trellised mountain-side block was an approachable 13.5% abv, and tasted of fresh fruits with raspberries and cherries to the fore. 

There was no noticeable oak, but Elizma told me that, after natural fermentation, it spent 10 months in small and large barrels but fewer than 10% were new.

The wine is an attractive light bodied fruit-forward luncheon Pinotage.

But I am a bit confused because although the wine is listed as 100% Pinotage on the Intrepid catalogue, the fact sheet for this wine on Olifantsberg website says it is blended with 14.8% Cabernet Sauvignon and has an abv of 12.9% while the fact sheet on their UK agents Hallgarten Druitt and Novum says abv is 14%. 

While the label is allowed a leeway on alcohol as they’re often printed before the wine is finalised, I’d expect to find matching information on the winery and importer websites.


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