30 November 2022

WoTM - Sutter Ridge 1996 Pinotage

My Wine of The Month for November is Sutter Ridge 1996.  

When I visited this winery in Amador County long ago it was growing 25 acres of Pinotage, the largest in the USA. I brought this bottle home but kept it too long.

But no, this 26-year-old wine was delicious. Showing the brownness of age, of course, but plenty of sweet fruit. No tannin, and surprisingly little sediment. A beautiful delicate wine.

The winery was pressurised by another winery with a similar name to change its name, but it now appears to have closed.

27 November 2022

Platter 5 Star Wines for 2023

 Platter's South African Wine Guide has announced its 5 Star wine for the 2023 Guide. Pinoate 5Stars are:

Beeslaar 2020

De Grendel Amandelboord 2020

Diemersdal Prospect 2020

Francois van Niekerk 2020

illimis 2021

Kaapzicht Steytler 2020

Kanonkop Black Label 2020*

Survivor Reserve 2020

Red Blends, with Pinotage

Beyerskloof Faith 2018*

* = Category Winner

08 November 2022

RIP Pat Del-Gatto

Pat Del-Gatto

Very sad news from Ontario. Pat Del-Gatto winemaker/owner of Del-Gatto Estates passed away on 15 Sept 2022 from complications following a stem cell transplant.

His widow, Heidi, tells me

We had wonderful 2020 and 2021 Pinotage vintages - both quickly sold out.


He was able to finish his 2021 vintages (as I always helped him with the work) and our kids completed all the bottling spring 2022 while he was in hospital.

See the report of my meeting with Pat when I visited Del-Gatto Estates by clicking here.


31 October 2022

WoTM - De Grendel 'Amandelboord' Pinotage, Durbanville 2019


My Wine of The Month for October is De Grendel Amandelboord Pinotage 2019 (Estate Wine of Origin Durbanville).

This is a most enjoyable new style Pinotage. Its dark red with bright clear ed highlights where it catches the light. Surprisingly the label states it's 15% abv because it doesn't show the alcohol.

Subdued tannins, no leather tones, but fruit of the forest on the palate and finished all too soon.

08 October 2022

Pinotage Day is Today


Which Pinotage shall I open? Which Pinotage will you open?

07 October 2022

It was never the grape’s fault says Beyerskloof winemaker Anri Truter

“It was never the grape’s fault,” Beyerskloof winemaker Anri Truter says of the historical perception of Pinotage in the UK. 

This is the first sentence in Drinks Retailer, a UK off- trade magazine, on Pinotage titled Can South African Pinotage make a comeback? – an analysis by Lucy Britner.

Read the article here

30 September 2022

WoTM - 2020 False Bay Pinotage The Last of the First

My Wine of The Month for September is 2020 False Bay Pinotage The Last of the First Schapenberg Single Vineyard (W.O. Stellenbosch)

This was light bodied with a pale colour, maybe trying to channel its Pinot parentage - or perhaps Cinsaut. 

We were split on this, one of liked it but not me… I found it had the same strange taste that I got in other False Bay Pinotages, a combination of dustiness and violets.

The back label implies this is made from the last block of the first commercial plantings of Pinotage, which would make the world's oldest Pinotage. But it ain't so; I reckon this is a new vineyard.

2022 Winners - Top 10, Vintage, Blend and Rose

2022 Absa Top 10 Pinotage Winners

(130 entries)

Beeslaar Pinotage 2020 Stellenbosch Abrie Beeslaar

Beyerskloof Winemakers Reserve Pinotage 2018 Stellenbosch Anri Truter

Flagstone Writer’s Block Pinotage 2020 Breedekloof Gerhard Swart

Kanonkop Estate Pinotage 2019 Simonsberg-Stellenbosch Abrie Beeslaar

Neil Ellis Bottelary Hills Pinotage 2018 Bottelary Warren Ellis

Pulpit Rock Brink Family Vineyards 2019 Swartland Dewald Huisamen

Rijk’s Reserve Pinotage 2016 Tulbagh Adriaan Jacobs

Simonsig Redhill Pinotage 2019 Stellenbosch Michael Malan

Vondeling Bowwood Pinotage 2019 Voor-Paardeberg Matthew Copeland

Windmeul Reserve Pinotage 2019 Paarl Abraham van Heerden/Michael Kotze

2022 Vintage Pinotage Winners

Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage 2011

Rijk's Reserve Pinotage 2012

Hill & Dale Pinotage 2009

Lanzerac Pinotage 2001

Neil Ellis Vineyard Selection Pinotage 2012

2022 Perold Absa Cape Blend Winners


Beyerskloof, Faith Cape Blend 2019

Blend              Pinotage(40)/Merlot(38)/Cabernet Sauvignon(22)

Winemaker     Anri Truter

WO                  Stellenbosch

Wine info        AV: 15.2 | RS: 3.4 | TA: 5.7 | pH: 3.65


Kaapzicht Wynlandgoed, Steytler Vision 2020

Blend              Pinotage(51)/Cabernet Sauvignon(48)/Merlot(1)

Winemaker     Danie Steytler

WO                  Bottelary

Wine info        AV: 14.52 | RS:2.7 | TA: 6.0 | pH: 3.66


KWV,            The Mentors Perold 2020

Blend              Pinotage(40)/Shiraz(30)/Cabernet Sauvignon(10)/Petite Sirah(10)/Malbec(10)

Winemaker     Izéle van Blerk

WO                  Coastal Region                                  

Wine Info        AV: 14.62 | RS: 3.3 | TA: 6.0 | pH: 3.49


Perdeberg Wines, Endura Winemakers Selection Cape Blend 2018

Blend              Pinotage(65)/Cabernet Sauvignon(19)/Malbec(16)

Winemaker     Albertus Louw

WO                  Coastal Region

Wine info        AV: 13.99 | RS: 4.5 | TA: 5.8 | pH: 3.50


Pulpit Rock Winery, Louisa Cape Red Blend 2018

Blend              Pinotage(50)/Shiraz(48)/Cabernet Sauvignon(2)

Winemaker     Dewald Huisamen

WO                  Swartland

Wine info        AV: 15.44 | RS: 3.8 | TA: 5.5 | pH: 3.72


Spier Wines, Creative Block 8 2017

Blend             Pinotage(36)/Cabernet Sauvignon(24)/Merlot(18)/Shiraz(18)/Cinsaut(1)/    

                       Malbec(1) / Mourvédre(1)/Petit Verdot(1)

Winemaker    Johan Jordaan

WO                  Coastal Region

Wine Info        AV: 14.52 | RS: 3.4 | TA: 5.4 | pH: 3.63

2022 Pinotage Rose Winners

Alvi's Drift, Signature Pinotage Rosé 2022

Winemaker Alvi van der Merwe | WO Western Cape | Wine Info AV: 13.42 | RS: 4.4 | TA: 6.7 | pH: 3.04


Bon Courage, Lady of The House Pinotage Rosé 2022

Winemaker Philip Viljoen | WO Robertson | Wine Info AV: 14.43 | RS: 3.1 | TA: 5.9 | pH: 3.44


Botha Kelder, Blanc de Noir

Winemaker Annamarie van Niekerk | WO Breedekloof | Wine Info AV: 12.37 | RS: 1.3 | TA: 5.4| pH: 3.37


Jakkalsvlei, Pinotage Rosé 2022

Winemaker Louis van der Riet | WO Western Cape | Wine Info AV: 13.65 | RS: 5.1 | TA: 6.1 | pH: 3.22


Landskroon, Blanc de Noir 2022

Winemaker Fanie Geyser | WO Paarl | Wine Info AV: 11.83 | RS: 6.0 | TA: 6.6 | pH: 3.18


Windmeul, Pinotage Rosé 2022

Winemaker Abraham van Heerden/Michael Kotzé | WO Coastal | Wine Info AV: 13.81 | RS: 3.0 | TA: 5.6 | pH: 3.59

31 July 2022

WoTM - 2017 Laibach


My Wine of the Month for July 2022 is 2017 Laibach Pinotage 

Every time, and there weren’t many, that I’ve had Laibach before it’s been bought in the Cape because most of the output exported from this fine organic estate goes to Germany, where the owner comes from. 

But this year Mr Laibach sold the winery in April and retired to Germany. Near neighbours Kanonkop Estate are the new owners and they immediately renamed the place Ladybird Vineyards, so this may be the last Laibach labelled wine I’ll have.

I was excited when I found this wine in a nearby independent wine shop. This bottle was a solid traditional style Pinotage although I thought it was lacking the excitement I remember from previous vintages. 

It  will be interesting to see what comes under new ownership. Farewell Laibach.


10 June 2022

The First UK Pinotage

 In June 2018 the first commercial Pinotage vineyard was planted in England, see here.

Now the first Pinotage wine has been produced from those vines, and Michelle Cheyne visited the vineyard to taste it, read her article - The First UK Pinotage.

31 May 2022

WoTM - Fort Ross Pinotage 2007

My Wine of The Month for May is 2007 Fort Ross Pinotage Fort Ross Vineyard (California, Sonoma Coast)

The cork split and my Butlers’ Friend didn’t help, some of the cork had fixed itself to the glass; the rest of the cork fell into the wine. I poured it through a small mesh strainer which collected most of the cork so only tiny grains were on the wine in a decanter.

I’d bought this estate wine from the winery in December 2012; the owners Lester and Linda Schwartz said they didn’t release their wine until it was aged and was ready to drink, but I  decided to keep it for a couple more years. Then I forgot about it. So was I too late?

No doubt it would have been good drinking a few year ago, but - boy - this was enjoyable. It had the tremendous sweetness of Pinotage berries and a smooth seriousness of aged wine. We drained the decanter.

Read about my visit to Fort Ross here.

(Since we were there, the small Fort Ross-Seaview AVA has been created which Fort Ross winery is now in. The Schwartz's were instrumental in getting the AVA registered.)


30 April 2022

WoTM - Durbanville Hills Pinotage 2018 The Promenade Collectors Reserve


My Wine of The Month for April is Durbanville Hills Pinotage 2018 The Promenade Collectors Reserve.

The wine was closed with a DIAM, printed to match the label. The wine was deep ruby red with flowers of the forest on the nose. In the mouth it had a tangy violet richness, with cedarwood on the finish. A delightful wine.

The front label bore a witty picture by artist Theo Paul Vorster

Irritatingly the winery website has only factsheet for their latest vintage, and not the one currently on sale here.

31 March 2022

WoTM - Abraham and the Heretics 2018

My Wine of The Month for March is Abraham and the Heretics Pinotage 2018. I first came across this wine in 2015 at a tasting, but this year I was able to buy it from owner run wine ship Dylanwad in  Dolgellau, Wales. It was the only Pinotage they had. 

Abraham and the Heretics is created by Richard Kelley MW (above) for  importer Dreyfus Ashby and made by Villiera Winery. 2013 was its first vintage. Richard Kelley is known for his Liberator range.

It felt light but was full bodied, lush and smooth with bright berry flavours and just a sight hint of coffee. Very enjoyable and just 13.5% abv.

Richard told me in 2015 “Abraham and the Heretics is something of a tongue-in-cheek challenge to Pinotage non-believers to accept the variety into their vinous lives”

28 February 2022

WoTM - Kanonkop Estate Pinotage 1990

 I've enjoyed several Pinotage this month that were candidates for Wine of the Month, most notably a stunning Spier 21 Gables 2016, but a three nights before the end of the month I was in the midst of moving wine to its new location and decided it was time to open a 1990 Kanonkop   rather than store it away again as the maturation chart on the back label showed it reaching its peak in 2002.

Thus my Wine of the Month for February is - Kanonkop Estate Pinotage 1990 (Stellenbosch).

The cork was spongy and a chunk of it dropped off the bottom and fell into the wine which was gorgeous. Yes, it was aged and the big fruit flavours had gone but it offered delicate fruits and gentle Pinotage sweetness. Usually Mrs M doesn’t go for aged wines and I was prepared to open a more recent wine, but she loved this. And so did I.

And while drinking it I was thinking that 32 years ago its grapes were probably fermenting in Kanonkop's Kuipes.

Note: It’s W.O. Stellenbosch only because it was made before the Simonsberg-Stellenbosch ward - which the estate vineyards are in - hadn’t been created at that time.

08 February 2022

Delheim Pinotage Rosé is wine expert's Valentine tip

Matthew Nugent in The Irish Sun says "I’m a wine expert and these are the top ten wines to treat yourself and a loved one to this Valentine’s Day. Now something light, pink, and possibly sparkling, are the go-to wines to pop on February 14"

The second wine listed is Delheim's Pinotage Rosé about which Matthew Nugent says:

"This pale, salmon pink Rosé has long been a house favourite. Red fruit notes dominate on the nose while the lively palate has excellent acidity and an explosion of red berries in the mouth." 

31 January 2022

WoTM - Robertson Winery ‘Longbeach’ Pinotage 2020

My Wine of the Month for January is - Robertson Winery ‘Longbeach’ Pinotage 2020. I assume Longbeach is the importers own on-trade label, and I’ve only seen it at Dylan’s Restaurant in Criccieth, Wales.

We’ve been drinking it for as many years as Dylan’s has been open, but now it’s come off the list leaving them with no Pinotage - or any South African red - at all. Luckily they had a few unsold bottles out the back which our charming waitress tipped us off about. They now have fewer.

I’m guessing this is Robertson Winery’s basic Pinotage which I’ve had in the Cape. On bitterly cold days by Criccieth beach the warm generosity of this unpretentious wine is most welcome. Light bodied, with cherry and plum flavours it is a great match for food.