31 October 2020

WoTM - Kaapzicht Estate Pinotage 2017

 My Wine of the Month for October is Kaapzicht Estate Pinotage 2017

Kaapzicht is a 4th generation farm owned by the Steytler family in the prime Bottelary Hills region of Stellenbosch. I’m surprised Kaapzicht isn’t wider known. 

Danie Steytler was the winemaker when I first visited. He’s now handed over winemaking to son Danie Junior and the quality is a high as ever. Steytler is their top label and under that one finds Pinotage, Vision Cape Blend and Pentagram Bordeaux blend. I have had all these but I haven’t tried their full range of wine, although I have been able to buy their wonderful Chenin.

Kaapzicht means Cape Sight – from the top of Kaapzicht’s vineyards one can look down on Cape Town’s harbour in the distance.

This wine is quintessential Pinotage, made with a light hand by a master of the variety. There’s plum, blackberry and spices over a tannin spine – the wine was aged for two years in French oak barrels before blending. But it’s not a bruiser, instead lighter bodied and sophisticated. Delightful!

13 October 2020

Judges' Notes on 2020 Top 10 Pinotages

 Absa Pinotage Top 10 2020

These are the judges' descriptions of this years winning wines. The wines were tasted blind over three days. The judges' notes were then collated and written by Dr Winnie Bowman CWM, the panel convenor of Tsogo Sun, sommelier Georgio Meletiou, Spier cellarmaster Frans Smit, wine writer Fiona McDonald and viticulturist Solly Monyanane.

Aan de Doorns Wynkelder

Aan de Doorns Pinotage 2018

Winemakers: Chris van Deventer & Chris Geldenhuys

Spice sheen, with a fresh herbal touch to red and black fruit. Bright vivacious with good grip, lovely ripeness and expression. Complex with good length and a smooth cocoa farewell.

Anura Vineyards

Anura Signature Pinotage 2017

Winemaker: Stander Maass

Ribena, nutty spicy Autumn leaf overlay on blue/black fruit. Lovely waxy, creamy mouthfeel with good structure, concentration and length.

Beyerskloof Wyne

Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage 2017

Winemaker: Anri Truter

Granola nuttiness to red/blue fruit. Similar nutty nuance plum/cherry palate. Good structure, yet lithe and supple with of life and interest. Good concentration and depth and long, spicy tail completes the picture. Structured and refined with deceptive concentration.

Conradie Penhill Wines

Conradie Family Vineyards Pinotage 2019

Winemaker:C P  Conradie

Spicy macerated dark fruits. Deep and inviting. Statuesque. Beautifully balanced mouthful of juicy dark fruit, spice and gently supportive frame of oak. Refined, has a regal presence and well made.

Delheim Wines

Vera Cruz Pinotage 2016

Winemaker: Roelof Lotriet

Subtle spice and tealeaf, good raspberry fruit expression – dark, dense and concentrated. Nice squeeze of dry, fine tannin. Good length, succulence and body, well-integrated. Maturing nicely.

Diemersdal Wynlandgoed

Diemersdal The Journal Pinotage 2018

Winemaker: Thys Louw

Pure blueberry, violet and rhubarb appeal. Rounded and rich, broad fruit and spice palate. Good breadth and texture. Balanced ripeness, well-judged spice and oak platform. Well made, suave and genteel.

Durbanville Hills

Durbanville Hills Collectors Reserve Pinotage 2017

Winemaker: Wilhelm Coetzee

Bold spice and lavender highlight to macerated red/cherry fruit and plums. Genteel, suave and smooth entry. Rounded and sleek with a toned and lithe palate. Fruit is nicely ripe with well-integrated oak frame. Good length and elegance. Complex.

Kaapzicht Wine Estate

Kaapzicht Pinotage 2018

Winemaker: Danie Steytler

Plum, spice with a cigar leaf edge. Light cherry lollipop overlay with succulence, squeeze of ripe tannin and a herb-tinged finish. Refined and very well-made. A delight!

Pulpit Rock Winery

Brink Family Vineyards Pinotage 2018

Winemaker: Dewald Huisamen

Perfumed sweet appeal, lavender and blueberry with a brush of cocoa. Rounded, ripe and succulent entry with well-defined palate with beginning, middle and end. Ripe fleshy blue and red fruit, cocoa notes and deep dark intensity. Elegant and nuanced with a refined tail. Smart wine.

Windmeul Kelder

The Legend Collection Pinotage 2018

Winemaker: Abraham van Heerden

Rounded, structured with abundant red and blue fruit mingling with powdery cocoa and smooth creamy milk chocolate. Spice and herb complexity add depth and dimension, cohesive and well made.

My thanks to Dr Winnie Bowman CWM for use of the notes.


10 October 2020

Today is International Pinotage Day

Today is International Pinotage Day. Open a bottle of  'tage and enjoy!


08 October 2020

Pinotage in the Media

 With International Pinotage Day approaching fast on 10 October there have been a number of recommendations in the media.

The Independent (UK Newspaper) list their choice of the best 10 Pinotages, and choose their best buy as Marks & Spencer's plainly labelled Pinotage

"The best buy is the M&S Classics No. 16, 2020, a smooth, full-flavoured and supple introduction to Pinotage that's recently arrived on the shelves and fully deserves its place there."

They review  Majestic's own label Definition 2018, Fairview Barrel-Aged 2019, "both great value wines for under £10", B Vintners, Liberté 2017, Billy Bosch Reserve Pinotage/Shiraz 2018, Kanonkop Kadette Rosé 2018 concluding that "Bowood is intense and hugely enjoyable while the gold-medal winning Môreson MKM Moraka Klaas Maffa 2016 and standard-setting David & Nadia Pinotage Siebritskloof 2017 are great wines by any definition of the term.

The Burnley Express (UK)list 8 of the best South African wines and praise Marks & Spencer Classic 2020 and Fairview Barrel-Aged 2019. They also list Bellevue Estate Houdamond 2016 and Kanonkop Kadette 2018.


Based in Oregon, The Manual website features 'Exploring South Africa’s Pinotage Wine Grape', reviewing two from South Africa, Rijk’s Wine 2015 Reserve  & Kanonkop Kadette 2018, and two US examples, Lovingston Winery 2017 (Virginia) & Loma Prieta 2017 (California), though it's not clear which wine is reviewed as Loma Prieta make single vineyard bottlings from different places and the review is illustrated by two reds from different vintages but not 2017 and a sparkling white Pinotage.



07 October 2020

Pinotage Top 10 Winners 2020

Winners of the  ABSA Pinotage Top 10 Competition were announced at a ceremony held at Beyerskloof Winery today, Wednesday, starting at 12:00 (South African Time)

The winners of the 2020 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  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


Kaapzicht Pinotage 2018

O Stellenbosch, Winemaker Danie Steytler


Pulpit Rock’s Brink Family Vineyards Pinotage 2018

WO Swartland, Winemaker Dewald Huisame

Windmeul’s The Legend Collection Pinotage 2018

WO Paarl, Winemaker Abraham van Heerden

De Wet Viljoen

The ceremony was hosted by De Wet Viljoen, Pinotage Association Vice-Chairman who introduced John Tshabalala, Managing Executive Western Cape ABSA. 

John Tshabalala

John said ABSA were highly privileged to take part in supporting Pinotage and the thanked the Pinotage Association for their good work. He reminded everyone of the thousands of jobs and the support given to communities by the wine business. 

Beyers Truter

De Wet then invited Beyers Truter, Chairman of The Pinotage Association to the stage. Beyers related the history of Pinotage and the genius of Abraham Izaak Perold. Beyers said that Pinotage had changed from an everyday drinking wine to a top wine, “from Cinderalla to top gold”. He said that at the first competition only 35 wine entered and he thoughtthat perhaps only five were worthy winners. This year he said that 35 of the contenders scored more than 90 points, and he glad not to be on the judging panel face with such the difficult task of choosing finalist and winners. Those 35 top scoring wines, he said, came from ten different regions showing that “Pinotage winemakers are in sync with their terroir”.

Beyers ended by saying there were many great wines made in South Africa and they “didn’t want Pinotage to be the crown jewel, just the shiniest jewel in the crown.

Abrie Beeslaar

Abrie Beeslaar was invited to the stage to speak on behalf of the judges. He said that the competition was unusual in a couple of ways. Firstly judging took place over three days, offering judges the opportunity to really taste the wines and have extra time to judge them, and secondly by having ten equal winners it makes the competition about Pinotage, not one winery or style.

De Wet finished by inviting the chefs who prepared the canapés and lunch to introduce them themselves and their dishes.

(L>R) De Wet Viljoen, Beyers Truter, John Tshabalala

03 October 2020

One Week to Pinotage Day

Next Saturday is International Pinotage Day. What will you open?