31 August 2020

WoTM - Oak Mountain Pinotage 2013

 My Wine of the Month for August is Oak Mountain Winery Estate Pinotage 2013 (Temecula Valley, California). 

Temecula is in Southern California, roughly midway between southern Los Angeles and San Diego, just off interstate highway 15. It is home to a surprising number of wineries growing an eclectic mix of grapes.

My report on my visit is here so I won’t repeat it. I sampled the 2013 Pinotage at the tasting counter and wrote of it  “there were fresh berry flavours leading into a dense restrained full bodied wine. I think it needs more time and I'll be saving the bottle I bought to bring home.”


Four years later, I opened that bottle this month. Although it was starting to fade, it had good mulberry deep red colour with a hint of violets on the nose. In the mouth it was gentle at the beginning developing into a rich fruit taste in the middle palate, backed by cedar wood and leather and maybe a touch of coffee. The wine was robust, but soft, and acids were apparent on the finish. An ideal food wine then. I’m really glad I brought this bottle home and aged it. It was very enjoyable.

30 August 2020

Delheim Pinotage Rosé and Jamaica Strawberries Combine in Strawberry Rosé Conserve

Following a a recent trip to the Cape by owners Lisa and Chris, their organic vegetarian farm and restaurant Stush in the Bush in Jamaica are using Delheim's  Rosé Pinotage to make Strawberry Rosé Conserve, according to this story in Jamaica Observer.


29 August 2020

Fridjohn - Winemakers expunge the sins of the fathers as Pinotage evolve

Michael Fridjhon is Director of the Wine Judging Academy of the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business, is an author, co-author or contributor to more than 40 books including the Oxford Companion to Wine, the Global Wine Encyclopaedia and the John Platter Wine Guide. 

He takes a look at Pinotage in his article Winemakers expunge the sins of the fathers as Pinotage evolves

He makes an interesting point that Cabernet Sauvignon would not have been planted in South Africa's first vineyards. Jancis Robinson' Wine Grapes found the first written mention of Cabernet Sauvignon was a hundred years later, in the mid 1700s. 

But I don't agree that "For many purists, it was doomed to be a mongrel – until DNA testing in the past couple of decades proved that most so-called noble varieties were also cross-breeds. Cabernet Sauvignon, for example, is a natural crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc..."

 I don't think anyone doubted that every grape variety is a cross of two others,  just as all people have two parents. It wasn't until DNA testing that a variety's actual parentage could be established. 

25 August 2020

Prescient Pinotage Report 2020


WineMag.co.za,  the online incarnation of the print magazine WINE has held a series of variety specific tasting competitions, sponsored by multinational financial services company Prescient. This month it was the turn of Pinotage results to be published.


It’s interesting to note the results compared with those for the ABSA Top 10 Finalist’s, also just announced.


The Prescient competition had slightly more than  a third of the number entered for Top 10,  57 entries from 33 producers.


These were scored on the 100-point scale by a panel of three with Christian Eedes (WineMag ) in the chair. The others were Roland Peens and James Pietersen, both of Cape Town wine merchants Wine Cellar.

The panel rated 33 or 60%, of the entries 90-plus, which illustrates “that in basic quality terms Pinotage easily holds its own against single-variety Cab, Merlot and Shiraz.

Perhaps the variety’s greatest attribute is the depth of fruit it delivers while its most considerable drawback is its awkward, sometimes bitter tannins, careful vinification required if rustic, inelegant wines are to be avoided.”


Especially interesting is that all the entries and their scores are given, so one can see which wineries  entered- and which didn’t.


The ten highest scoring wines were:

B Vintners Liberté Pinotage 2018, Stellenbosch

Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage 2018, Stellenbosch

De Grendel Amandelboord Pinotage 2018, Durbanville

Kaapzicht Steytler Pinotage 2018, Stellenbosch

Wellington Wines La Cave Pinotage 2018, Wellington

L’Avenir Pinotage 2017, Stellenbosch

Lievland Bushvine Pinotage 2018, Paarl

MAN Bosstok Pinotage 2018, Coastal Region

Môreson Widow Maker Pinotage 2018, Stellenbosch

Painted Wolf Guillermo Pinotage 2019, Swartland


The Prescient Pinotage Report 2020 can be read here.

24 August 2020

2020 Pinotage Top 10 Finalists


The 20 Finalists for the 2020 ABSA/Pinotage Association Top 10 Competition are:

Aan de Doorns Pinotage 2018

WO Worcester, Winemakers Chris van Deventer & Chris Geldenhuys

Anura Signature Pinotage 2017

WO Simonsberg-Paarl, Winemaker Stander Maass

Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage 2016  

WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker Anri Truter

Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage  2017

WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker Anri Truter

Beyerskloof Reserve Pinotage  2017

WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker Anri Truter

Conradie Family Vineyards Pinotage 2019

WO Western Cape, Winemaker CP Conradie

Delheim Vera Cruz Pinotage 2016

WO Simonsberg-Stellenbosch, Winemaker Roelof Lotriet

Diemersdal The Journal Pinotage 2018

WO Durbanville, Winemaker Thys Louw

Durbanville Hills Collectors Reserve Pinotage 2017

WO Durbanville, Winemaker Wilhelm Coetzee

The Glen Carlou Collection Pinotage 2019

WO Swartland, Winemaker Johnnie Calitz

Kaapzicht Pinotage 2018

WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker Danie Steytler

Pulpit Rock’s Brink Family Vineyards Pinotage 2018

WO Swartland, Winemaker Dewald Huisamen

Rijk's Reserve Pinotage 2015

WO Tulbagh, Winemaker Pierre Wahl

Rijk's Private Cellar Pinotage 2014

WO Tulbagh, Winemaker Pierre Wahl

Simonsig Redhill Pinotage 2018

WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker Michael Malan

Spier 21 Gables Pinotage 2017

WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker Johan Jordaan

Springfontein Jonathan's Ridge Single Vineyard  Pinotage 2016

WO Walker Bay, Winemaker Tariro Masayiti

Viljoensdrift River Grandeur Single Vineyard Pinotage 2018

WO Robertson, Winemaker Fred Viljoen

Wellington Wines’ La Cave Pinotage 2018

WO Wellington, Winemaker Francois van Niekerk

Windmeul’s The Legend Collection Pinotage 2018

WO Paarl, Winemaker Abraham van Heerden

Three entries for Pinotage specialists Beyerskloof and two for big-hitters Rijk's, with all but one of the rest being frequent finalists or winners, the 24th year of this competition is showing the wineries that have have demonstrated mastery of the variety over two decades.

The 149 entries were judged by Winnie Bowman (Cape Wine Master and panel convenor), Tsogo Sun sommelier Georgio Meletiou, Spier cellarmaster Frans Smit, wine writer Fiona McDonald and viticulturist Solly Monyanane, a protégé judge in 2019.

The six finalists for the ICON Vintage Class are  

Flagstone Writers Block Pinotage 2008

WO Breedekloof, Winemaker Gerhard Swart

Kanonkop Estate Pinotage 2009

WO Simonsberg-Stellenbosch, Winemaker Abrie Beeslaar

Neil Ellis Vineyard Selection Pinotage 2010

WO Jonkershoek Valley in Stellenbosch, Winemaker Warren Ellis

Rijk's Reserve Pinotage 2007

WO Tulbagh, Winemaker Pierre Wahl

Rijk's Reserve Pinotage 2010

WO Tulbagh, Winemaker Pierre Wahl

Rijk's Private Cellar Pinotage 2010

WO Tulbagh, Winemaker Pierre Wahl

05 August 2020

Cloof Winemakers Selection Pinotage 2017 Virtuel Tasting

Cloof  Winemakers Selection Pinotage 2017 is the first wine to be featured in a series of Cloof Wines virtual tastings.

This is presented by Lester Pywell, who says he doesn't understand wine, which is rather disconcerting since he is Cloof's Marketing & Communication agent.

Fact sheet on the wine tasted is here.

03 August 2020

Killer Red for Grilled Meats

Perdeberg “The Dry Lands Collection” Pinotage 2017 from South Africa is a “killer red for your grilled meats this summer”, says Jeffery Anderson in Minnesotas St Cloud Times.

The wine starts off with heady aromatics of cherries, strawberries, dark fruits, spice and vanilla. Flavors of blackberries, dark cherries mocha and spice coat the palate. Incredible structure with layers of complex fruit notes that continue on and on.

This is one of the finest Pinotage under 20 bucks on the market.

Read the full review here.