jamie goode's wine blog: More on the coffee pinotage, and Bertus 'Starbucks' Fourie

Thursday, July 03, 2008

More on the coffee pinotage, and Bertus 'Starbucks' Fourie

A few days ago I blogged, slightly tongue-in-cheek, about Pinotage and Diemersfontein's remarkable coffee-n'-chocolate example (although, of course, I was serious when I said Pinotage sucks and anyone who likes it lacks a decent palate).

Well here's some more information on it, gleaned from a number of sources, including Peter May's excellent site here, Grape here, and Wine here.

The winemaker at Diemersfontein who 'invented' this coffee and chocolate style was Bertus Fourie, who, because of his work, is widely known as Bertus 'Starbucks' Fourie. He was hired by KWV in 2005 to create their Cafe Culture Pinotage, and then left KWV in May this year for a boutique venture called Val de Vie (read more here).

According to Grape, the owners of Diemersfontein were not pleased that he left taking his 'recipe' with him (see here). They even went as far as initiating legal action. So what is this recipe?

The fruit is ripe, without much greenness. The destemmed grapes are hand sorted to remove any green material. But the key aspect is the wood, which in this case consists of staves in tanks. I'm guessing that there is something about the wood - perhaps the toasting process - that is causing those distinctive coffee/chocolate flavours, rather than the vanilla/coconut lactones that normally come from oak.

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At 8:30 AM, Anonymous keith prothero said...

(although, of course, I was serious when I said Pinotage sucks and anyone who likes it lacks a decent palate).

And I would say people who go mad over all the Craggy Range wines also lack a certain objectivity.
Still its your blog so you can write what you like I guess but I do think statements like this are rather offensive.---------maybe you really need a few smilies on your blog as I cannot believe you seriously mean this.

At 8:34 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Sorry Keith, I didn't mean to offend - I'm not serious - it was meant as a joke - a bit of a dig.

The Craggy wines are really good, don't you agree? The Quarry that you bought a while back is an awesome wine - I'd like to buy some off you if you still have any!

At 9:25 PM, Anonymous Alex Lake said...

You seem to be confusing everyone (including yourself) about how serious you are or aren't about this!

I wonder if Doug (are you listening?!) likes any Pinotage?

Would it be permissable to put some really strong coffee in the barrels for a few weeks before the wine goes in?

At 9:25 PM, Anonymous Alex lake said...

Oh, and let's have some comment on City's latest transfer dealings!

At 5:29 AM, Anonymous keith prothero said...

Jamie I have to be honest and tell you that I am disappointed with The Quarry although the missus likes it!!
Too much fruit for my taste and as you compared it to a classed growth Bordeaux in your original note,my view is that it must be a Michel Rolland made one!!

At 12:34 PM, Blogger J. M. Darkly said...

This post has been removed by the author.

At 12:35 PM, Blogger J. M. Darkly said...

Hey Jamie,
Even though I've read your blog for years, mostly when I worked in wine
in Australia, this is the first time I've felt I should respond to one of your posts.

I'm also not a big fan of pinotage, however, I think this sounds rather yum. Although I have to admit I am a sucker for words like "chocolate" and "coffee" used to describe a wine. These words are like saying "open sesame" to my wallet...

I just might have to try this Pinotage and risk being converted...!

Please feel free to drop by anytime: www.winewomansong.com

Keep it real,


At 1:43 PM, Anonymous Laurence said...

nothing whatever to do with Pinotage, but given the number of comments many might hit this thread. Local Tescos have 1/2 bottles of 2002 Suduiraut at 1/2 price - 13.49 a bottle. With their current 25% off 6 bottles that makes this 10.11 a bottle. No idea whether this is a national price, but might be worth a gander. (Wouldnt bother looking in TEsco's Blackburn though .....)

At 3:55 PM, Anonymous keith prothero said...

sorry but whoever buys wine in The Evil Empire should not inhabit these pages.
(I am being serious but hope I do not cause offence ha ha )

At 4:40 PM, Anonymous Doug said...

I love Pinotage. It's my favourite grape variety (marginally ahead of twenty year old Kekfrankos). Occasionally, its subtleties are lost on me but then my palate has been adulterated by a surfeit of French wine. Coffee-flavoured Pinotage - what a great idea. My favourite one is Mocha Farms Rustica blend, although I am equally a fan of their extraordinary late harvest Pinotage called "Camp Essenzia". Wines likes these are a highly toasted stave through the heart of the French wine industry.

At 7:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure everyone has their own thoughts on what a wine tastes like and what they think of it...
Pinotage - still waiting to taste a truly great one... But my palate tells me there are some good ones...
Joking aside- to tell your audience they don't have a decent palate if they happen to like a certain wine..
I think I'll stop reading..

At 11:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a big Pinotage sceptic but find this variety very interesting because of the range of styles it comes in.
On a recent trip to SA I was very impressed with Spice Route Pinotage 2006, cloaked in swathes of American oak (not usually my thing) but really worked.
For purer fruitier Pinotage without the oak and possibly a test as to whether you actually detest the variety or just poorly made Pinotage, splash out 5 on Sainsburys Fairtrade Pinotage 2006 from the Citrusdal co-op.
I reckon both should be up for your least detestable award and the latter without any tricks other than making decent wine.

At 11:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a woman, but love Pinotage - this one is the best ever!! You go, Starbucks......


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