31 December 2020

WoTM Kanonkop Estate Pinotage 2015

 My Wine of the Month for December is Kanonkop Estate Pinotage 2005.

We enjoyed this on Christmas Day with roast turkey, roast parsnip and potatoes, steamed brussels sprouts, carrot, cauliflower, cabbage, sage & onion stuffing balls and Yorkshire pudding.

I had the 2010 and 2000 vintages ready as we had planned for wine, and Pinotage, loving family to join us, but a late change to Covid rules meant we dined on our own. 

The 2015 was at a perfect stage, with everything in balance and plenty of fruit. Smooth and delicious, we look forward to a happier time in 2021 when we will open another bottle of it and then the older ones for our guest.

Goodbye 2020....

23 December 2020

Meerendal Pinotage Tasting Menu

 Meerendal's Restaurant, Il Tesoro, is serving a five course Pinotage Wine Pairing Dinner on Thursdays. They say booking is essential; phone number is on the website here

Video - Meerendal Winemaker Tastes Pinotage

Meerendal winemaker Thys Smit (above) tastes Meerendal Estate Pinotage in this short video.

The vintage is not identified and the label not clearly shown, so seems to be a generic description of the wine style rather than specific.

13 December 2020

Jancis Chooses Springfontein Pinotage for Xmas

 Jancis Robinson MW's list of recommended Christmas wines includes one Pinotage.

She says  

These celebratory reds  ...... should deliver pleasure and relative value. Even the 15 percenters taste well balanced and appetising

Springfontein, Terroir Selection Pinotage 2016 Walker Bay, South Africa 15%

Very sweet and vital ..... amazingly well balanced. A very superior Pinotage.

First published in her column in The Financial Times and available in full on her website.  


07 December 2020

Loma Prieta Sold

Loma Prieta Winery, California's largest Pinotage producer, has new owners.

Loma Prieta was founded by Paul and Amy Kemp in 2000. Paul soon fell in love with Pinotage, grafting all his estate Cabernet, Merlot and eventually Pinot Noir vines to Pinotage and leasing Pinotage vineyards on other parts of the State. 

Paul made three vineyard specific Pinotages, Amorosa and Karma Vineyards in Lodi and Sierra Ridge Vineyard in Suttervillein addition to his estate Pinotage, and was the first anywhere to produce a sparkling white Pinotage, which was made by the traditional method.

Paul Kemp died on 1 July 2018.

Loma Prieta has been bought by Chris Arriaga, a real estate developer and former U.S. Marshal. He and his daughter, Samantha, both residents of Saratoga, will continue to operate the winery under its existing name, retaining all staff, reports The San Jose Mercury News.  

Full Story here

30 November 2020

WoTM - Babylon's Peak The Wedge Pinotage 2018

 My Wine of the Month for December is The Wedge Pinotage 2018 (WO Swartland).

I've had a couple of Pinotages this month that were new to me and which I won't be buying again,  but will be getting more of this one.

The Wedge is named after a California beach by Newport Harbour famed by surfers for huge waves which can reach 30ft high.

The Wedge has its own website www.thewedgewines.com which lists five wines under The Wedge's retro surfing labels, but the wine is made by Babylon's Peak winery.

This is the first wine I've had from this winery, and wow! Dense black red colour, intense in the glass with black cherry and damson flavours with a thread of mocha and black chocolate. Really exciting.

So how come I hadn’t encountered this winery before when that label says Est 1925 and the website of Babylon's Peak says Anno 1919? The family may have started farming then but the high A number (A1062) shows they are recent and Platter says they started making wine in 2003.

14 November 2020

Kanonkop Black Label 2018 - Video

Kanonkop Cellar Master Abrie Beeslaar announces the launch of the 2018 Black Label Pinotage, with a tasting note and a bit of history about how and why Kanonkop decided to bottle their old 1953 vineyard separately as Black Label.

The winery made this video restricted. Click on the link to view it on YouTube

The fact sheet for Kanonkop Estate Black Label 2018 is here.

13 November 2020

Platter 2021 5 Star Pinotages

The Platter Guide to South African Wines has announced its 5 star wines in the forthcoming 2021 annual guide, the 41st, to online subscribers.

All are listed by Angela Lloyd, the Guide’s longest serving taster, here.

Six Pinotages and two Cape Blends received the 5 Star accolade. They are


1953 Single Vineyard Pinotage 2018

Pinotage Reserve 2017  


Diesel Pinotage 2018


Vera Cruz Pinotage 2017


Pinotage The Journal 2018

Pinotage Reserve 2019  

Cape Blends

Beyerskloof   Faith 2016

KWV The Mentors Perold 2017


04 November 2020

Boxed Beyerskloof Pinotage

Woolworths in South Africa are the first, as far as I am aware, to put Pinotage in a bag in a box (BIB). It's their exclusive Reserve Collection label from Beyerskloof. It's been long available  by the 75cl bottle at R99.99, now it also comes in a 2 litre BIB for R189.99, saving R70 

As to what is in the smartly cream labelled Reserve Collection, only Beyerskloof and Woolworths know, but I would guess it's similar to the Reserve Selection sold in the UK which is a mid-point between the stave-aged white label and the barrel-aged black labelled Reserve and is a blend of both.

03 November 2020

Kanonkop Black Label 2018

 Emile Joubert of Wine Goggle got to taste the newly released 2018 vintage of Kanonkop's "Rare. Expensive. Luxurious." premium Black Label Reserve Pinotage.

He came to the  wine "with nervous trepidation. 2018 was a bugger of a vintage, the preceding five years of drought and heat surely having taken a toll on the vineyard, which was 65 years old at the time of harvest. "

But "the experience on the mouth was wonderful. Plush, satin and velvet come to mind, but not of the easy and comfortable and overtly-luxurious kind. 

The tannins have settled, making the experience broader and Rubenesque. Those familiar flavours of honeyed-prunes, damp autumn bark and sappy mulberries are pushed to the fore, gracefully balanced on rounded, muscled hips cloaked in fresh linen."

Kanonkop Black Label Reserve Pinotage 2018 is available from the winery at R1,900 (around GBP 91, USD 119)

Read the full review here.


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? 

30 September 2020

WoTM - Flagstone Time.Manner.Place Pinotage 2012

My Wine of the Month for September is Flagstone Time.Manner.Place Pinotage 2012 W.O. Breedekloof

This was the only bottle I have had, or even seen, of this iconic wine, which I bought at the winery. When the the wine was launched in 2012 with the 2010 vintage, Flagstone owner Bruce Jack told The Drinks Busines

“My aim is to make the best wine in the world from Pinotage

 This won’t be a wine we produce every year, only in years we deem good enough.” 

At eight years old, this wine was exquisite with great quality and finesse. 

Time.Manner.Place comes from the same Silkbush Mountain Vineyard in the Breede River Valley, roughly midway between Worcester and Tulbagh as Flagstone's Writers Block. 

The Pinotage is planted at the highest point of the farm, 730 metres on the upper corner of the hillside.(arrowed in above picture) Mountains rise steeply beyond; one of them is Sybasberg which translates as Silkbush Mountain and gives its name to the farm. 

Grapes were berry selected by hand and fermented in new barrels, the cap manually pushed down every four hours. The final wine is the result of a barrel selection.

Bruce Jack wrote this haiku about pressing the wine:

Universal light
Pressed into dark purple wine
Reflect far-flung stars

23 September 2020

Winners: 2020 Cape Blend and Pinotage Rose Competition

 Winners of the 2020 ABSA Perold Cape Blend and the Pinotage Rose Competition are:


KWV Abraham Perold Tributum 2017

WO Coastal: Winemaker -Izele van Blerk

Rijk’s Pinotage/Syrah 2015

WO Tulbagh: Winemaker – Pierre Wahl

Stellenbosch Hills Suikerboschrand Cape Blend 2015

WO Stellenbosch: Winemaker – James Ochse

Warwick Three Cape Ladies 2017

WO Stellenbosch: Winemaker – JD Pretorius

Wellington Wines – La Cave Cape Blend 2018

WO Wellington: Winemaker – Francois van Niekerk 



Bon Courage Lady of the House Pinotage Rosé 

WO Robertson: Winemaker -Jacques Bruwer

De Krans Pinotage Rosé 2020 

WO Western Cape: Winemaker – Christoff de Wet

Merwida Pinotage Rosé 2020 

WO Western Cape: Winemaker – Magnus Kriel

Painted Wolf Ros Pinotage Rosé 2020 

WO Paarl: Winemaker – Jeremy Borg

Florence by Aaldering Pinotage Rosé 2020 

WO Stellenbosch: Winemaker – Reinard Odendaal



14 September 2020

Finalists: Cape Bend and Rose 2020

Finalists for the 2020 ABSA Perold Cape Blend and the Pinotage Rose Competition have been announced:


Anura Signature Cape Cuveé 2017

WO Simonsberg-Paarl: Winemaker -Stander Maass

Flagstone Dragon Tree Cape Blend 2018

WO Western Cape: Winemaker – Gerhard Swart

KWV Abraham Perold Tributum 2017

WO Coastal: Winemaker -Izele van Blerk

KWV Abraham Perold Tributum 2018

WO Coastal: Winemaker -Izele van Blerk

Lyngrove Platinum Latitude 2017

WO Stellenbosch: Winemaker – Danie van Tonder

Rijk’s Pinotage/Syrah 2015

WO Tulbagh: Winemaker – Pierre Wahl

Stellenbosch Hills Suikerboschrand Cape Blend 2015

WO Stellenbosch: Winemaker – James Ochse

Viljoensdrift River Grandeur Cape Blend 2018

WO Robertson: Winemaker – Fred Viljoen

Warwick Three Cape Ladies 2017

WO Stellenbosch: Winemaker – JD Pretorius

Wellington Wines – La Cave Cape Blend 2018

WO Wellington: Winemaker – Francois van Niekerk 



Bon Courage Lady of the HousePintage Rosé 

WO Robertson: Winemaker -Jacques Bruwer

De Krans Pinotage Rosé 2020 

WO Western Cape: Winemaker – Christoff de Wet

Merwida Pinotage Rosé 2020 

WO Western Cape: Winemaker – Magnus Kriel

Painted Wolf Ros Pinotage Rosé 2020 

WO Paarl: Winemaker – Jeremy Borg

Florence by Aaldering Pinotage Rosé 2020 

WO Stellenbosch: Winemaker – Reinard Odendaal



This year’s winners will be announced on the 22nd of September 2020.



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.


31 July 2020

WoTM - Perold Vineyard Pinotage 2013

My Wine of the Month for July is Perold Vineyard Pinotage 2013 (WO Stellenbosch). 

This was the first vintage of wine from the special and unusual vineyard, a small (0.5 hectare) old riverbed plot scattered with large stones, named in honour of A I Perold. 

It was planted in October 2008 with 966 vines in a fan shape (as pictured on the label) to examine the effect of sunlight at different angles.


It’s in the town of Stellenbosch on land owned by STIAS, the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study, who are doing the study. The wine - 1,000 bottles annually - is now made by the nearby Lanzerac winery but this particular wine was made by Beyerskloof, as shown by the A310 number on the label.

The wrap-around label names not only the clone used (Pinotage PIN48 ‘medium growth and yield, very fruity’), but also the rootstock US8/7UC32, information almost unknown on labels.


Because ‘Perold’ as a wine name is trademarked by KWV, the wine is now sold by Lanzerac under the name Aliquid Novi - certainly since 2015.  


I had only one bottle of this wine which I bought in the Cape, and I blew it. I should have either kept it longer or decanted it. It is light in colour, and tasted light, thin even, with the taste of cloves. But as time passed it grew in the glass and the last pour was best, showing the majesty in this wine if I’d only decanted it. It was silky and had developed complex flavours. Truly delightful at the last glass.

For my blog post with pictures of the vineyard when I visited it in 2011 see here.

Fact sheet on the vineyard is here, and the wine can be purchased from Lanzeracs tasting room or online here.


12 June 2020

Pinotage Podcast

Wines of South Africa (USA) have put together a series of podcasts, including one about Pinotage.

Hosted by Jim Clarke (WOSA USA Marketing Manager) the Pinotage podcast has sessions with winemakers Abrie Beeslaar (Kanonkop), Jeremy Borg ( Pained Wolf) and Emul Ross (Hamilton Russell, Southern Right and Ashboune) followed by an Sommeliers opinion of Pinotage by Adam Knoerzer, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

This is a detailed programme, with lots of technical information on making Pinotage and effect of the soil types it grows on. It finishes with Adam Knoerzer tasting and describing various Pinotages, including the coffee style.

Well worth a listen, it lasts 54 minutes and can be found here:


and on all major podcast apps, such as Apple, Google, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, etc.

31 May 2020

WoTM - Del-Gatto Estates Odyssey 2016

My Wine of The Month for May is Del-Gatto Estates ‘Odyssey’ Pinotage 2016, Prince Edward County VQA

At the end of October 2017 I drove 2+ hours west from Toronto, Ontario, to Prince Edward Island. The island is close to and connected to the mainland by a bridge. On the south of the island is Del Gatto Estate, the reason for my visit, which I detailed here.

Pat Del Gatto has planted Pinotage and makes an excellent wine from it that had sold out. But Pat had some of the young 2016 in his library which he let me taste and buy a bottle which I BYO’d  in November with a fine steak at  the Double Cut Steakhouse, Kalahari Resort in Poconos, Pennsylvania where I was attending the American Wine Society Conference. 

Pat posted me another bottle which I saved at home and opened this month.

A delicious perfume was released as the cork was raised. The wine was a bright clear dark red and tasted of clean ripe berry fruits, cherry and strawberry. I didn’t note any chocolate flavours this time. The fruit on the front palate lingered long on the lasting aftertaste. The wine was fine drinking now, but there was no hurry as this fine wine will last.

29 May 2020

AWEsome Pinotages

Two Pinotages make the 100 AWEsome wines list chosen by the Association of Wine Educators (AWE).

They are

The Society's Exhibition Pinotage 2017
David & Nadia Siebritskloof Pinotage 2017

The first is Kanonkop's Kadette Pinotage labeled for and sold by The Wine Society in the UK.

The full list is here

25 May 2020

Meerendal Pinotage Tasting Video

Meerendal's Bennie Howard CWM tastes and talks about Meerendal's basic and old vine 'Heritage Block' Pinotages

22 May 2020

The fall and rise of Pinotage

There's a thoughtful article considering   The fall and rise of Pinotage by Rupert Millar at  hudin.com in which he says

Pinotage is a grape capable of a broad spectrum of styles from deeper, darker, almost marshmallow pillowy wines to very light, succulent examples flaunting that Pinot DNA and terroir expression to boot. 

30 April 2020

WoTM- Fairview Broken Barrel Pinotage-Durif 2017

My Wine of The Month for March is Fairview’s Broken Barrel 2017 which is a blend of Pinotage and Durif aka Peteite Sirah.

Every year the Broken Barrel range features a ‘once only’ blend, after which the barrel is broken – that blend never to be repeated. Which is regrettable in this case because this blend is jolly tasty.

For 2017 the Fairview team paired two varieties that resulted by the hand of man, in this case Dr Abraham I Perold from South Africa and Dr François Durif from France, both of whom are pictured on the attractive label.

The variety credited to Durif (a cross of Syrah and Peloursin) goes under two names, Petite Sirah in the USA and Durif in Australia. Fairview was the first in South Africa to grow the variety and they are currently using Petite Sirah for their varietal but have, in the past, used Durif.  

The Broken Barrel wines are available only from the winery, and I was told by tasting room staff the blend is 50/50 but the fact sheet on Fairview’s website shows Pinotage 46%,  Durif 38% and Tannat 16% and  says  the 'Pinotage is grown in the Swartland and the Durif on the Paarl Mountain as trellised and irrigated vines. Grapes were destemmed, crushed and fermented separately in open top wooden foudres. Pump overs and punch downs were done 3-4 times per day during fermentation to extract flavour, colour and tannins from the berries. Finally, the wine was pressed and matured in barrels for 24 months. A combination of French and American 225L oak barrels were used of which 20% were new.'

The wine has a bouquet of cedar wood and in the glass is almost black, although streaked with ruby highlights when catching the lights.

An intense wine, offering dense flavours of black plums and cherry, with spices. A deeply satisfying wine that I’d love to be able to get more of. 14.1%abv, costing 120 Rand only from Fairview.

I bought this wine at Fairview on 9 March, before wineries started to close and lockdown started.

One can visit the Goat Tower next to an empty car park via the live web-cam at https://www.fairview.co.za/live-cam/

10 April 2020

Delheim Video - - Nora Thiel on Pinotage Rose 2020

Delheim Winery co-owner Nora Thiel talks about and tastes the newly released Delheim Pinotage Rose 2020.

Delheim Video - August Pepe on Delheim Pinotage 2017

Visitors to Delheim's Cellar Tasting Room will remember manager August Pepe who leads tastings and winery tours.

In this video he discusses and tastes Delheim Pinotage 2017

31 March 2020

WoTM - Beyerskloof Winemakers Reserve 2016

My Wine of the Month for March is Beyerskloof Winemakers Reserve 2016. This wine isn’t listed on Beyerskloof’s website and it’s only on sale at the winery.

Red Leaf Bistro

I was in the Cape in March and an opportunity to have another Pinotage Burger in the Red Leaf Bistro was a must.

We ordered Winemakers Reserve to accompany the burger and took three bottles away with us.

Winemakers Reserve is positioned between Pinotage Reserve and Diesel. It is a blend of the best ten 225L barriques of the Pinotage Reserve, thus a there is a max of 3,000 75cl bottles. The 2017 vintage was a Pinotage Top 10 Winner in 2019, but that is not yet on sale.

Winemakers Reserve 2016 is dense, and akin to a bud about to open. One can taste greatness, berries and plums and a lick of tannin, but it will reward more time to blossom. 

The Pinotage Reserve 2017, though a year younger, is more approachable. Thus for bottles I opened, I gave them time in the glass before drinking and I’ll keep for a couple of years those I brought home.

Fermenting Pinotage at Beyerskloof. Planks for standing on when punching down cap, and stainless steel cooling pipes

Winemakers Reserve brings a new red Pinotage to Beyerskloof's portfolio, which goes like this

Wine of Origin
Cost at Winery
Western Cape
The enjoyable entry level screwcapped Pinotage with a white label, aged in tank with oak staves.
Reserve Selection
Western Cape
Not Available
Export label, blend of barrel and tank stave aged. In UK, bulk shipped and bottled in UK with screwcap.
Barrel aged, cork
Winemakers Reserve
10 best barrels of Reserve, cork
Wide heavy bottle, selected old vineyard, cork