31 May 2018

WoTM – Warwick Estate CIWG Pinotage 1995

My Wine of the Month for May is Warwick Estate Cape Independent Winemakers Guild Pinotage 1995.

The Cape Winemakers Guild (they dropped the ‘Independent’ part of the name some years ago) annually blind tastes wines submitted by their members. Those selected are sold by auction with an exclusive CWG label.

This wine was made by Norma Ratcliffe, co-owner and founder of Warwick Estate, and the Cape's first female winemaker in modern times. When Norma retired from everyday winemaking she was honoured with the title ‘Keeper of the Key’ to continue playing an active role in CWG.

This wine was given me by Mike Ratcliffe and I kept in in my Eurocave waiting for an occasion to share with someone who’d appreciate it.

That occasion happened when Eleanor Cosman came to stay. Eleanor runs Toronto’s South African Wine Society and her company imports wines into Canada.

After an aperitif of Camel Valley ‘Classic Cuve’ 2013 English sparkling wine we opened the Warwick and from the vintage 20 years later Chateau Naudé ‘Vin de Francois’ 2015.

Warwick’s 1995 wine was a pale translucent orange with a berry nose. It has sweetness backed with some thin berry fruit flavours, and a hint of wine gums. There was enough acidity to balance our roasted chicken, but I’d kept it too long for my current fruit loving tastes. A very interesting wine. Thanks Mike!


23 May 2018

Danie Steytler Jr pours Kaapzicht in London

To Olympia for the 38th London International WineFair. Fewer exhibitors this year, and it seemed few visitors also for the first day.
Danie Steytler Jr. Kaapzicht Estate Winemaker
Danie Steytler Junior of Kaapzicht Estate was showing his wines on their agent Seckford’s stand. Just as Danie Jr took over winemaking duties from his father Danie, so he has given his mother Yngvild a break from her many years of attending London’s wine fair. Yngvild and Danie Snr have taken the opportunity to go on a camping holiday.

Kaapzicht’s 2016 Pinotage offers soft ripe cherry flavours.

Vision 2015 is a blend of 50% Pinotage, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot.  “This is the first time Pinotage had been the major variety. Previously Vision has been Cabernet dominated.” said Danie.  “This wine had 2 years aging in 100% new French oak barrels and it was bottled in October 2017.

Vision 2015 is a lovely classy wine, smooth as silk, with sweet berry fruits.

Kaapzicht ‘Steytler’ Pinotage 2015 won the International Wine Challenge Pinotage Trophy. This is a full bodied sophisticated wine with ripe voluptuous sweet plum and berry fruits. I thought it was gorgeous, a flag carrier for the variety, but  Christian Eedes, writing in WineMag  says it “arguably lacks thrill factor.” I’d be thrilled to have this wine with dinner.

22 May 2018

Trajan Totus Pinotage is Best Buy in Shanghai

Trajan Wines 'Totus' limited release Pinotage  was unanimously voted by a panel of Chinese wine experts as the best-buy wine in the category of still red wines valued between EU4 and EU8 on show at last weeks 19th SIAL China International Trade Fair for Food  in Shanghai.

Trajan Wines managing director Mark van Schalkwyk said “I think what makes this award so special is that the Totus limited is a Pinotage, which is made from a 100 percent South African grape. I hope that this vote of confidence from the Chinese will translate into growth in exponential value for this particular wine. This award definitely means we are on the right path if you look at the style of wine we produce for this particular market.”

The news, reported in The Citizen, doesn't mention the vintage of the winning wine. Trajan's website shows only information about their 2008 vintage.