31 December 2023

WoTM – The Wine Society Pinotage-Syrah 2023



My Wine of The Month for December is The Society’s South African Pinotage-Syrah 2023. This is made, labelled and bottled for UK’s The Wine Society by Ben Radford and Alex Dale at The Winery of Good Hope.


I remember, many years ago, Guy Webber at Stellenzicht Winery making an equal blend of Pinotage and Syrah he thought was the best wine he’d produced, and I agreed the two varieties were complementary. It was a big flavoursome wine, so I had big hopes for this.


It’s young; the grapes were still on the vines at the year’s beginning. It’s a pale translucent red and only 13% abv. It’s pleasant enough, but one taster thought it ‘stalky’. I didn’t get that, but found it a bit thin. It doesn’t seem to show varietal characteristics. It seems from the back label’s suggestion to serve cool that The Wine Society wanted a Beaujolais-Nouveau like wine. If it was served by the glass as a pub house wine I’d be happy, but with dinner I want more oomph.

22 December 2023

RIP Pierre Loubser


Pierre in 2019

I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Pierre Loubser, retired Manager of The Pinotage Association. 

He had a bad fall in his home and died in hospital on 22 December 2023.

As Manager of  newly formed Pinotage Association he was very good to The Pinotage Club,  gaining entry to otherwise closed wineries and arranging meetings with winemakers. 

A friendship developed between us and we met every time I made my annual trip to the Cape. I lunched twice with him earlier this year. The last  time I saw him was at Jordan Estate in March this year.

Pierre's had suffered several years of declining  health and he was quite frail but his wits were as sharp as ever.

I shall miss his company. 

Pierre Johan Loubser

Gebore: 29 Oktober 1939 Oorlede: 22 Desember 2023


21 December 2023

Platter 2024

Platter's South African Wine Guide 2024  Pinotage of the year is L'Avenir Single Block 2020 and its Cape Blend is Beyerskloof Faith 2020.

The following Pinotages got the top 5 Star rating

  • Fairview Primo 2021
  • Francois van Niekerk 2021
  • Kanonkop Black Label 2021
  • Kanonkop 2021
  • Lanzerac Commemorative 2019
  • L'Avenir Single Block 2020
  • Survivor Reserve 2021

The following Cape Blends got the top 5 Star rating

  • Beaumont Vitruvian 2019
  • Beyerskloof Faith 2020
  • Beyerskloof Faith 2019
  • Nuiba Third Post 2019
  • Opstal Carl Everson Cape Blend 2021

Congratulations to all.

01 December 2023

WoTM - Cloof 'Winemakers Reserve' Pinotage 2020

My Wine of The Month for November is Cloof 'Winemakers Reserve' Pinotage 2020.

On removing the cork the room was filled with a bouquet of plums, and red fruits. Unfortunately that initial generosity wasn't followed through on the tongue; the wine was enjoyable but seemed a bit closed. Does it need keeping longer or was the cork to blame?