Sink the Pink Pinotage!

I’ve ranted here before about how stupid the export approval systems in some countries can be. They are well intentioned: for a wine to be exported from South Africa and New Zealand, it must pass a taste test. The idea is that this keeps bad wines from being exported and letting down the country’s reputation, or poisoning foreigners. (Australia had a similar system, which they recently disbanded in the face of media pressure, following a high profile incident with a rather delicious Yarra Cabernet Franc.)

Well, one of my wine heroes, Craig Hawkins of Lammershoek in South Africa’s Swartland, has run into trouble again. His wines can be quite atypical, but in a very good way. His own label, Testalonga, always seems to upset the Wine Standards Board, but in the past he has talked his way out of trouble. This time, he’s been knocked back a few times and may now not be able to export the wine.

It’s a Pinotage from Lammershoek released under the Cellar Foot label, which is used for oddities such as their wonderful Hárslevelű. Craig tried to make it in a lighter, Beaujolais style, and the result is a really refreshing, joyful deep pink/red wine that tastes like a really full bodied rose.

It has been rejected because it is not a typical Pinotage. It has also been rejected because it is not a typical rose. But it’s a lovely wine with real personality. There are lots of people who would buy and enjoy this wine. So why is Craig not allowed to export it? His wines can only enhance the image of South African wine in export markets.

8 comments to Sink the Pink Pinotage!

  • Hi Jamie… I once had a Sandstone Sauvignon rejected because it was too light in colour! … and so the grey suit brigade rumbles on like a dinosaur facing extinction! Let’s keep raising awareness and hopefully we can bring about a change. cheers Marc

  • Nothing like getting rejected / banned by “The Authorities” to generate PR and sales ;-)

    Hats off!

  • Doug

    This is indeed a lovely drop. Craig is a brilliant young winemaker making thoroughly exciting wines. The South African Wine Standards board have no imagination and even less taste and seem to be blissfully unconscious of what is happening in the rest of the wine world.

  • Tim Carlisle

    Unsuprisingly Adi B has similar problems – and several of the Swartland lot have to not be totally truthful on the label about which grapes are in a wine.

  • Charles Mutter

    Has anyone registered the term “Cape Clairet”? If not perhaps they should!

  • David Bennett

    I had not met Craig until Monday. He’s fabulous. His wines absolutely rock ,in a mineral acidic yet absoutley balanced way. The Douro wine on show was stunning with depth of flavour, balance and integrity… A profound wine,
    Thanks
    Ravidrrr

  • Simon Pringle

    Is it just me or could it be the hard core nature of the name have something to do with the objections. For current definition of “sink the pink” see: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Sink%20the%20pink

  • Beurocrates will be beurocrates will be beurocrates. Wine and art are probably the last things who’s fate should be decided by them. As far as the name goes, If the wine is good, and the name is objectionable – it can always be addapted. It seems rediculous not to allow its export for such a silly reason.

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