jamie goode's wine blog: A crazy Pinotage and two from Waitrose

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A crazy Pinotage and two from Waitrose

I can't help, when it comes to Pinotage, descending to a level of criticism that I object to when I see it from others, if you know what I mean. I become dogmatic and opinionated.

Normally, I reckon I'm an open-minded sort of guy. I embrace diversity. Live and let live; see the best in everything; every cloud has a silver lining; everyone deserves a second chance.

But Pinotage is vile. In fact, I've thought of both a new competition, and also a new way to assess wine show judges based on this variety. The new competition is for the World's Least Vile Pinotage, and perhaps I should brand this with my name to make it an excercise in ugly self-promotion (as some other, nameless, writers do with top 100s and the like). And the new way to assess wine show judges is to give them a glass of Pinotage. If they say it's OK, they're sacked. If they dislike it, they are in. If they take a sip, cuss loudly and expel the contents from their mouths rapidly, then they are senior judges.

Anyway, I think I have found a potential winner for my competition. It's the Diemersfontein Pinotage 2007 Wellington, South Africa. The back label reads:
'This is the one! The original coffee/chocolate Pinotage now in its seventh great vintage. It befriends - it converts - it seduces'

You know, Diemersfontein have sussed Pinotage. The way to make it work is to mask the flavours of the grape. This wine really does smell of coffee and chocolate, and it is seductive. There's a hint of roast bacon here, as well. The fruit is sweet, and it's actually quite delicious, in a rather strange, slightly weird way. This is available in the UK from Asda, and it's probably my favourite expression of Pinotage.

Also tasted tonight, with a barbecue after watching elder son play cricket (golden duck this time, alas, and after we'd spent ages in the nets trying to work on some sort of defensive strategy), a couple from Waitrose which go well with this balmy summer's evening. They're from the Waitrose own-label range, which are sort of hybrid 'in partnership with' wines.

The first is a beautifully balanced, rich Sauvignon from Villa Maria (Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2007) that's really delicious. The second is a Barossa Shiraz 2006 Reserve from St Hallett, which is smooth and pure with nice texture and a hint of vanilla and chocolate. It's suave and stylish, if a little primary.

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At 10:35 AM, Blogger Peter May - The Pinotage Club said...

Do you really mean the worlds least vile?

I mean, you're comparing it with all those California, New Zealand etc Pinotages you've tasted?

OK, you don't get it and you don't like it. So get over it. What I do not understand is your hostility and bile. Is it frustration that others are enjoying it while you don't understand this variety and you feel you should like all wines?

And as for your supreme confidence that your taste is not only right but that everyone else is wrong, I can only envy you your utter certainty.

So someone who doesn't hate Pinotage like you do can't appreciate other wines. What utter bollox you do talk.

At 5:22 PM, Anonymous Alex Lake said...

What is it about Pinotage that brings this out in people, I wonder? I'm not a fan of most Pinotages (finding that they often - maybe even usually - have a somewhat bitter pencil-lead flavour) and I don't like the idea of masking the flavour - that sounds a little akin to turd polishing.

There are some that I really do like. Grangehurst at the more serious end and "The Ruins" at the light end. In fact, it's such a good summer/patio wine that I shall go and buy some right now!

But I think that this is a blog - and, as such, is the perfect place for utter bollox! ;-)

At 7:25 PM, Anonymous Steve said...

Mr Pinotage, I think Mr Goode was exaggerating to make a point. It's a well-known satirical technique. I can only hope that you were doing the same, because it would be sad if you really were that devoid of humour.

At 8:44 PM, Anonymous Lar Veale said...

I haven't tried enough Pinotage to say that it sux ballz though the Thelema certainly did.

The Diemersfontein, however, I really liked.

Loads of crispy bacon fat with the unmistakable coffee and chocolate - a winner for me (and not in the least vile category but in the "Wow, how the hell did they make that?")

I also wonder why California and NZ bother to grow Pinotage - leave the South Africans to it, I say.

And Peter, take a chill pill.

At 8:52 PM, Blogger Fiona Beckett said...

Know what you're saying Jamie but it's really not THAT bad. Some people have the same reaction to Sauvignon Blanc.

Personally I think it's a great wine for a curry which may be damning it with faint praise but it has its uses. Not at all bad for a barbecue either. And can be pretty useful with cheese . . .

At 7:59 PM, Blogger el pescado sucio said...

Taste is always personal...anyone who judges someone else's taste must either be mad or are having a joke. I say if you like Sweet Concorde wine (ala fermented British grape juice) then good luck to you...! Personally I think Pinotage is great with extra rare steaks...

At 8:36 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

As el pescado correctly assumes, I was having a bit of a joke (although the possibility remains that I may be mad, too).

Sorry, didn't mean to offend.


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