31 August 2021

Winners - 2021 Pinotage Top 10



The ten winners of the 2021 ABSA Pinotage Top 10 Competition was announced today at a ceremony live streamed. They are:


Beeslaar Pinotage 2018

Stellenbosch

Abrie Beeslaar


Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage 2018

Stellenbosch

Anri Truter


Diemersdal The Journal Pinotage 2019

Durbanville

Thys Louw


Flagstone Writer's Block Pinotage 2018

Breedekloof

Gerhard Swart


Francois van Niekerk Pinotage 2019

Coastal

Francois van Niekerk


La Cave Pinotage 2018

Wellington

Francois van Niekerk


Môreson Widow Maker 2018

Stellenbosch

Clayton Reabow


Neethlingshof Estate Pinotage 2020

Stellenbosch

De Wet Viljoen


Stellenbosch 1679 Pinotage 2019

Stellenbosch

Nicolas Husselman/Handré Visagie


Stellenrust Cornerstone Pinotage 2019

Stellenbosch

Tertius Boshoff



The ceremony can be viewed here  awards start 29 minutes in.

 

WoTM - Durbanville Hills Pinotage 2017

 My Wine of The Month for August is Durbanville Hills Pinotage 2017. I had this in The Park Hotel, Montrose, Scotland. We were on the trail of ancestors. Montrose is on the coast and is the site of the Britain's first military operational airbase opened in February 1913 for the Royal Flying Corps (RFC), later renamed Royal Air Force ( RAF). It finally closed in 1952 having seen aeroplanes from the first canvas and string bi-planes to jets.


After visiting the museum on the site we walked along Montrose's beautiful beaches backed by sand dunes but bitter winds and drizzle kept sunbathers away.


In The Parks dining room it was a real delight to see an excellent Pinotage on a wine list - the only Pinotage in our almost two weeks in Scotland and Northern England, and we had to have it.



It was a double pleasure, when the wine was delivered to our table, to see it had some age being some five years old. And it was drinking beautifully. Sleek and sophisticated, with dark plums to the fore and a long aftertaste. And finished all too soon. 



13 August 2021

Pinotage Top 10 2021 - Finalists

The 20 finalists in this year's Absa Top 10 Pinotage are:

Beeslaar Pinotage 2018

Stellenbosch

Abrie Beeslaar


Beeslaar Pinotage 2019

Stellenbosch

Abrie Beeslaar


Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage 2018

Stellenbosch

Anri Truter


Beyerskloof Winemakers Reserve Pinotage 2018

Stellenbosch

Anri Truter


Bowwood Pinotage 2017

Voor-Paardeberg

Matthew Copeland


Diemersdal Pinotage Reserve 2020

Durbanville

Thys Louw


Diemersdal The Journal Pinotage 2019

Durbanville

Thys Louw


Flagstone Writer's Block Pinotage 2018

Breedekloof

Gerhard Swart


Francois van Niekerk Pinotage 2019

Coastal

Francois van Niekerk


Kanonkop Pinotage 2019

Simonsberg-Stellenbosch

Abrie Beeslaar


La Cave Pinotage 2018

Wellington

Francois van Niekerk


Môreson Widow Maker 2018

Stellenbosch

Clayton Reabow


Neethlingshof Estate Pinotage 2020

Stellenbosch

De Wet Viljoen


Neil Ellis Bottelary Hills Pinotage 2019

Stellenbosch

Warren Ellis


Piekenierskloof Johan van Zyl Pinotage 2019

Piekenierskloof

Jaco van Niekerk


Rijk's Reserve Pinotage 2015

Tulbagh

Pierre Wahl


Rijk's Reserve Pinotage 2016

Tulbagh

Pierre Wahl


Simonsig Pinotage Redhill 2018

Stellenbosch

Michael Malan


Stellenbosch 1679 Pinotage 2019

Stellenbosch

Nicolas Husselman/Handré Visagie


Stellenrust Cornerstone Pinotage 2019

Stellenbosch

Tertius Boshoff


With over 133 entries received in the 2021 Pinotage Top 10, Pinotage Association chair Beyers Truter is not only delighted with the quality of the wines but also that they represent the vast Cape winelands.


The Museum class received over 10 entries.  The association encourages producers to enter this category, which truly showcases the aging potential of Pinotage wines.


The 2021 Judging panel is: Winnie Bowman, Carl Schultz, Frans Smit, Solly Monyamane, Johann Fourie and Elmarie Botes.  


The awards ceremony on 31 August will be steamed live on Facebook at midday.

31 July 2021

WoTM - Grayhaven Pinotage

My Wine of the Month for August is Pinotage from Grayhaven Vineyard and Winery in Virginia USA.I bought it there when I visited in September 2008. Co-owner Max Peple-Abrams fell in love with Pinotage while in South Africa, where she  met husband Deon Abrams who is winemaker at Grayhaven.



She told me then "We have less than 1/3 acre of Pinotage vines here and have to supplement with Pinotage grapes grown in California. We graft off our existing vines every year to increase our production - it's slow going. To meet the current demand for our Pinotage, we are looking to eventually have about 2000 vines. We thin our crops pretty well so the quality is high but our yield is less than 1/2 of what a large commercial vineyard would get from the same vine count."


This wine, made in 2007 is made with a blend of estate grapes and California grapes, brought to the winery by refrigerated truck, and accounting for its 'American Wine' appellation.


Yet again, I had kept an interesting - and rare - wine for too long. But it was 16% abv so it was still enjoyable. Although totally dry, the high alcohol and Pinotage sweetness gave this wine the feel of Madeira.





30 June 2021

WoTM - Rheboksloof Pinotage 2015

 My Wine of The Month for June is Rhebokskloof Pinotage 2015 WO Paarl.



I had it with an excellent fillet steak in the Café Cru restaurant of The Imperial Hotel in Great Yarmouth where we spent a few days this month.


I've had the2015 Rheboksloof before, but this was the last bottle of this vintage at the hotel so I doubt I'll have the 2015 again.


Six years old, and matured to perfection, it was magisterial with supple plum and black cherry fruits and soft tannins. A beautiful wine. With steak it made a heavenly match.




31 May 2021

WoTM - The Mentors Pinotage 2017

 My Wine of The Month for May is The Mentors 2017 Pinotage W.O. Coastal




Mentors is the top range in KWV's wine portfolio, and they never disappoint. This 2017 suggests on its back label to age for five to eight years, but it is drinking beautifully now after four years.


There's black fruits, damson come to mind with an intriguing underlying spiciness. It's a mouth filling, rich and satisfying wine. Must get more!





27 May 2021

Consumers Have Moved On

Interesting article in Forbes by Cathy Huyghe who says that many people in the wine business are old fogeys with elephantine negative memories on the subject of Pinotage.


Consumers, in the meantime, have moved on. Far, far on.


It’s a telling discrepancy. On one hand are the traditionalists and their elephantine memories, who cling to negative, decades-old impressions of Pinotage the way former athletes cling to romantic idealizations of their long-ago glory days in sports. Interestingly, this group seems populated more by people in the trade than by casual consumers who comprise the alternate side of the discrepancy, who are more curious and interested in current iterations of today’s wines now rather than the versions of how yesterday’s wines used to be.


Full article  - Old Fogeys Vs The Rest Of Us: Perspectives On Pinotage Wines From South Africa

30 April 2021

WoTM - Van Loveren 'Rhino Run' Pinotage 2018



My Wine of the Month for April is Van Loveren Vineyards 'Rhino Run' Pinotage 2018  WO Robertson.

This was my second bottle. It had a good body and structure under lots of that typical Pinotage sweet fruit.


The label confuses me. The RR logo says Royal Rhino beneath, and the back label says Royal Rhino is a donor towards Rhino conservation but it doesn't say what the connection this wine is.


The website www.rhinorunwine.co.za says "for each bottle sold, a donation is made by Van Loveren Family Vineyards towards the Player Ntombela Foundation", but no mention of Royal Rhino, and the   'spec sheet' doesn't have a vintage tho' it shows an analysis of 14.57%abv, while the 2018 has an abv of 13.5%, also the label says the wine organic.



31 March 2021

WoTM - Fleur du Cap 'Series Privée' Pinotage 2016


My Wine of the Month for March is Fleur du Cap 'Series Privée' 2016  WO Coastal Region.



It was a 2019 Pinotage Top 10 Winner and this bottle was my first and only. I bought it in Wine Village, Hermanus, in March 2020.


On opening it had a slight vegetal nose, but this soon went. When poured it was a very dark purple colour and released a power scent of blueberries, which express themselves exuberantly in the mouth. The wine had a creamy texture with tangy spearmint to the fore.


This was a lovely wine, insisting one poured another glass and it was finished all too soon.


If I had more bottles, I would keep them with confidence as this wine, while drinking well now, will surely reward aging.


From the winery fact sheet:

The first vineyard is from Stellenbosch Kloof in Stellenbosch from trellised vines planted in 2000. The row direction is E/W and the slope is north facing.

The other two vineyards originate from bush vine vineyards in Bottelary Hills and Agter Paarl. The Paarl vineyard was planted in 1994 and is farmed under dryland conditions. The soils are Swartland shale with excellent water holding capacity. Grapes are removed to one bunch per shoot resulting in a low yield of 6 tons/ha. The Bottelary Hills vineyard was planted in 1987 in similar soils on a north-west facing slope. Supplementary irrigation was given as required, yielding 7 tons/ha.


The grapes were handpicked, carefully destemmed and lightly crushed to open top fermenters. The wine was punched down during fermentation for optimal extraction of colour and tannins. After passing through small basket presses, the wine went straight to barrel (30% new oak) for malolactic fermentation. Racking as opposed to filtration was used to clarify the wine. The final blend was completed after 16 months in barrel.



28 February 2021

WoTM - Single Vision Pinotage 2020


 My Wine of the Month for February is Single Vision Pinotage 2020



This was a really exciting 'tage, offering lots of fresh berry fruits, well balanced acidity, that typical Pinotage sweetness and all with reasonable13.5% abv. I returned to buy more, and it was all gone.


The back label says Single Vision is a project of Duncan Savage and Thys Louw of Diemersdal.


02 February 2021

Beyers Truter wins 1659 Award for Visionary Leadership

 


Beyers Truter  was honoured with the iconic 1659 Award for Visionary Leadership on Tuesday 2 February 2021 during the industry's 10th annual Wine Harvest Commemorative event.


The purpose of the event is to celebrate the wine industry's inception 362 years ago on 2 February 1659, to ask for the Blessing of the Harvest and to honour role players.


The criteria for the Visionary Leadership award  includes demonstrable efforts and initiatives that have benefited the South African wine industry; a lasting impact and legacy; and to encourage and inspire others in the industry.


As winemaker, wine personality and owner of Beyerskloof, Truter has done all of this as part of his mission to have the South African Pinotage variety internationally recognised as a premium red wine. 


In 1979, Truter obtained a degree in BSc Agriculture with oenology and viticulture at Stellenbosch University. At the age of 25, he became the winemaker of Kanonkop, establishing the brand worldwide with numerous awards, including the prestigious Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande Trophy for the world's best red blend with his iconic Paul Sauer 1991 Bordeaux blend. 


He also won the Robert Mondavi Trophy at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in 1991 for Best Winemaker in the World. Truter also is the founder and chairperson of the Pinotage Association.


As a true wine legend who has placed Pinotage on the world map, Truter is a commendable recipient of the 1659 Award for Visionary Leadership. 


Previous recipients are Jan Boland Coetzee, Prof Piet Goussard, the Unsung Wineworkers, Charles Back, Danie de Wet, Norma Ratcliffe, Jan Scannell, Dave Hughes and Spatz Sperling. 


31 January 2021

WoTM - Jerome Winery Pinotage 2012

 


 

My Wine of the Month for January is Jerome Winery Pinotage   2012 from Arizona, USA.

In 2016 I was invited to present at The American Wine Society National Conference in Coast Mesa, California. 

Before the conference we took the opportunity to drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, and after a few nights there to the Grand Canyon for a couple of nights, then south to stay at Sedona in order to visit Jerome, before heading to Temecula Valley and back to Costa Mesa.



Jerome, said in 1903 by New York’s The Sun to be “the wickedest town in the West”, was created to support the copper mine that excavated Cleopatra Hill. The mine shut in the 1950s and the town, which is effectively three parallel streets perched up on the side of a high hill, is now a tourist destination of shops, restaurants and wineries



Jerome Winery is a label of Cellar 433 which has its winery on the edge of the town with a steep drop behind it. It is owned by John McLoughlin who makes the wines and grows the grapes in the family vineyard on Dragoons Mountain, about 300 miles south east of Jerome, in the Willcox AVA.



I was lucky when I called in meeting John (above) on one of his infrequent visits to Jerome and he gave me a tasting. Unfortunately I have mislaid or lost the notebook I used, and after this time it has still not turned up I opened the wine, perhaps having left it too long.


Its pale red colour gave that initial impression, but it had a delicious delicate taste, with spiciness and a long finish. A gorgeous wine.



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