The best Pinotage?

pinotage
Could this be the best Pinotage of all? Previously I have liked a few. The Scali example springs to mind,do the regular and black label Kanonkops. This is up there, certainly, and shows what can be done with this variety. It’s from Neil Ellis.

‘We take a Burgundian approach with extraction techniques and use Burgundian wood,’ says Neil. ‘The idea is to capture and frame integrated tannins, looking for brightness of fruit. One of the beauties of this variety is that if you exclude aggressive tannins, there will always be sweetness of fruit. This wine portrays all the elements of wine that I am interested in: we understand this particular piece of earth and what it can give. It has immediate access but we think it shows its best after 5–6 years.’

Neil Ellis Pinotage 2010 Jonkershoek Valley, Stellenbosch, South Africa
This is from a 400 m vineyard facing south east, with tiny yields of small berried small bunches. Neil Ellis says it is really a white wine site, but it has made a lovely Pinotage. Sweet, pure, fresh elegant cherry fruit nose. Very appealing with seductive aromatics and pure, elegant berry fruits on the palate. Supple and a bit spicy, with lovely purity, elegance and appeal. 93/100

3 comments to The best Pinotage?

  • I remember enjoying their Syrah last time I was in South Africa.
    We have recently been using Lammershoek LAM Pinotage on our wine-tastings with mixed success – lots of people seem prejudiced against Pinotage before they even taste the wine – the red equivalent of German riesling!

  • charlie avis

    Don’t know this one but quality of Pinotage has improved over the last few years. Note that previously Stellenbosch has been the traditional home of pinotage it now produces a much lower percentage of award winning wines in both the domestic and international wine tasting events. Areas which have become increasingly recognised are from the Coastal area, Durbanville, Paarl, Tulbagh, Walker Bay (Botrivier), Wellington and Worcester. Most commentators have argued that vine age and micro climate are the primary differentiators of style. I would suggest that like elsewhere terroir is inherently the main determinator. Pinotage was often grown on sandy old riverbeds which made for high yields and low quality. Today the best wines come from grapes grown on weathered shale with a high clay content. By handling these grapes more gently, you get the nice fruit profile, some good and accessible tannins, but cut out the dry and overpowering tannic aftertaste of some warmer climate wines.

    Suggest that you seek out wines such as Anura and Bolland from Paarl, Diemersdal from Durbanville, Rijks and especially from a QPR perspective, Manley from my personal favourite region of Tulbagh.

  • Riaan

    Nice to see Pinotage being challenged on cooler soils and slopes, lets hope they hit limestone and then some more Burgundian cellar practices and it’s all finesse. The way to go ,less in forced structure can yield way more nuance ,it will change Pinotage the way we know it and bring needed diversity to the table .

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