Day 7. Wine 3.
Ah, Pinotage. I love to love thee. I have always been a fan, though wine geeks tend to be very divided into definitive “love it” or “hate it” camps. Make no mistake, there are some baaaad bottles out there. One of South Africa’s home-bred signature grapes, as a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinseault, the latter grape has a tendency to bring out notes of overripe tropical fruit, or even chemically, nail polish-like traits. But when it’s nicely made, it can be fabulous, although still not for everyone with its hearty tannins and frequently smoky profile.
There’s been a recent trend to try to bring out coffee notes in Pinotage though experimentation in barrel toasts and contact time. The wine I tried last night is one of these efforts.
In the glass, this wine was a beautiful garnet, with pinky/fuschia tones most likely the result of its Pinot Noir parentage. On the nose, there was lovely complexity, with ash and smoky notes dominating the fruit at first, primarily black cherry and very ripe plum. And yes, if pressed (no pun intended), one could make links to coffee notes as well.
On the palate, it retained its complexity. Blueberry and somewhat sour cherry notes, with butterscotch and cocoa. Very bold tannin, but to me, not overwhelming – balanced overall with the fruit and the acidity. Medium finish.
Overall, this wine was a pleasure and a great example of how yummy Pinotage can be. This would go great with BBQ meats this summer – smoky with smoky! Also a great match for charcuterie and cheese boards, or yummy Chinese smoked duck.
Region: South Africa
Price: $14.98 at BC Liquor Stores (Menzies)
My rating (ratings are being done based on quality versus price, on scale of 0 to 5 stars): ★ ★ ★ ½ At the very top of my price range, and probably not for everyone, but for me, good value for the money.
The Music Match
During my wine studies, it was evident that Pinotage was seen by some to be an inferior grape, with a history of more bad than good bottles out there. But for some reason, I have always been a fan, always cheering it on in hopes it will be all it can be. I am quick to forgive the bad bottles with acetone faults or the ones where rotten fruit and overbearing tannins take over. But for me, when it’s good, it’s great. This puts me into a very hip minority of avid Pinotage fans. So here is a cool hipster video to match, from Four Tet (one of the most interesting new artists I have stumbled across lately), “created using the stunning time-lapse footage from Philip Bloom’s ‘Sky’ reel and Four Tet’s ‘She Just Likes to Fight’ off of the album There is Love in You“: