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Pinotage, old & new - 14th March '23

On Tuesday the 14th of March, we looked at Pinotage, old style and new. We tasted Estates that put Pinotage on to the stage, so to speak and a person who really put Pinotage out there, as well as an old favourite! There was one surprise at the end, that was tasted at the end of the tasting, and really shocked us all!! This wine was donated to us by the Estate, thanks Jap! All tasters were provided with a full set of tasting notes, as well as a list of the Pinotage’s available at Liquor City, Makro, Norman Goodfellows and Woolworths (available upon request). A set of criteria for good Pinotage’s and bad ones was also given to each taster. The last wine was tasted after the first flight of six, which were tasted together and at the same cold starting temperature. The first six were discussed properly, before the last was tasted, at the same starting temperature as the first six and then rated. This is the tasting record and scores.

1. Diemersdal Pinotage 2021

Colour- inky purple-red to rim, no gradation. Nose- black fruit, cherries, chocolate, jamy, plum, raspberry, almost smoky. Palate- crisp acids, firm tannins, cedar, black berry, cherry fruits, jamy and plum finish.

Score- 16.12.

2. Kaapzicht Rooiland Pinotage 2020 (85% Pinotage & 15% Cabernet Sauvignon)

Colour- inky red-black, to light red rim. Nose- initialy slightly shy, but as the nose opened up, black cherry, red berries, mushroom, dusty, fynbos, savory. Palate- juicy berries, firm tannins, with cassis, plum and savory, with a berry fruit finish.

Score- 16.87.

3. Bellevue Pinotage 2019 (Woolworths)

Colour- deep red, gradating to light red rim. Nose- banana, blue berry, and raspberry. Palate- high acids, shy, soft fruit, soft tannins, medium bodied, slightly thin, with black and red cherries, blue berries, short, no lingering flavours.

Score- 15.93.

4. Beyerskloof Reserve Pinotage 2019 (Woolworths)

Colour- deep red to rim. Nose- cherries, chocolate, fynbos, savory, dusty, blue berry. Palate- firm tannins, jamy, plum, blue berry and cherries, berries lingering to the finish.

Score- 16.00.

5. Lanzerac Premium Pinotage 2019

Colour- inky purple-red, no gradation to the rim. Nose- red and black cherries as well as berries, with mulberries and tobacco. Palate- crisp acidity, firm tannins, cedar, liquorice, full bodied, jamy, with plums and chocolates, lots of red and black berries, still young, needs time.

Score- 16.43.

6. Simonsig Pinotage 2018

Colour- deep red to rim, slightly browning edge. Nose- jamy fruit, black berries, mulberries and raspberries. Palate- crisp acidity, soft tannins, bright juicy fruits, plum, mulberries, red fruit, plum lingers to the finish.

Score- 17.06 (ninth best wine for Vats in 2023 thus far).

Comments from the tasters that all the wines were well made, but very similar, except for the Bellevue. The Bellevue wasn‘t liked, people thought that it was a bit thin, lacking fruit. Most felt the wines needed time to age, as they were closed at first and took a while to open up. Top wine in this flight was the Simonsig, followed by the Kaapzicht. Many felt that the Kaapzicht benefited from the addition of the Cabernet Sauvignon, with the cassis that was on the palate.

The seventh wine was then poured and scored.

7. Seven Oaks 6+1 Pinotage 2019

Colour- deep red-black, no gradation to a browning rim. Nose- a forthcoming, full of fruit nose, with coconut, jamy, plum, black fruits, lots of berries. Palate- crisp acidity, caramel, savory, plum, full bodied, with juicy jamy black cherries and berries which lingered to the finish. A seriously fruit driven wine complete different to the first flight!

Score- 18.00 (Top wine for 2023 thus far).

Seven Oaks completely different style, almost old world, without the acetone and banana, juicy almost sweet fruits. This wine took the day. The 6+1 was open and ready to drink! All the others need time and thus all tasters scored the last wine higher than the first flight, there were lots of 19’s. So to put this in perspective the 6+1 is the best scoring wine thus far for Vats in 2023. But, I have looked back in the records back to 1999, it is the highest scoring Pinotage since then. The closest scoring Pinotage’s, were scored last year in 2022, these were the Stellenrust Pinotage 2019 (17.86) and the Painted Wolf Guillermo Pinotage 2019 (17.80). Well done Seven Oaks and thanks for Bruce Downing for donating this wine to us.

An amazing tasting, with a twist at the end, finishing with an awesome wine, so different and juicy. All who attended said they had learnt allot, I learnt lots from everyone present too! We will do this again soon, thanks to all who attended and made this tasting special.

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