Pinotage is the national varietal of South Africa, and it is not that prevalent here in the states, at least I have not seen it that often. It is a cross between two varietals Pinot Noir and Cinsault (Hermitage in South Africa) and hence its unique name. I have wrote about the first two wines that I have tried, the first being rather light and unassuming and the second was the most terroir monster driven wine that I have ever had, and then I come to the third wine.
First let me backtrack and discuss what I have had in the way of Pinotage, and this by no means makes me an authority on this varietal. The first wine I had this past September at the Culinary Extravaganza which is a fund raiser for the Culinary School at Schoolcraft Community College, and it is an awesome school and facility for future chefs. I had tasted about twenty different wines that afternoon. The Barista Pinotage 2012 was my first taste of this varietal, and I found it rather light and unassuming and I was not too much in a hurry to have another glass of it, if this bottle was representative of it.
My next time that I had the wine was courtesy of another Wine Blogger that I am glad to call my friend, namely Oliver who goes by the nom de plume of The Winegetter. My Bride and I were dinner guests at Oliver’s home with his charming wife Nina. One of the wines that we had that night was a bottle of Tukulu Pinotage 2007, and I think this bottle was brought out, because we were having a discussion of terroir, that ethereal concept of tasting the soil (or as I like to say “dirt”) that is noted in some of the great wines of the world. If you have ever had a Grands Cru of Burgundy, a First Growth of the Medoc, or a Classified Growth wine from Graves you will know in a minute, what the term terroir means. This concept is lacking from most wines and I am not sure if it is by design or not. When Oliver was opening this wine he warned me that not only would I taste the dirt, but burned rubber, paint and petrol. I thought to myself, not tastes that I normally look for in wine, but he was right and this wine hit me with a sledgehammer in its unique taste and aftertaste. This may have been the most defiant wine I had ever encountered.
A short time ago, another associate that I know bought some wine from a friend of his that went to South Africa to become a wine maker. He offered me a chance to buy some of the wine that he was waiting to get, and I told him the story about the Tukulu Pinotage and he just looked at me with his mouth agape, because the wine he was getting was the most expensive wine that he had ever purchased, as he likes to say he enjoys swill; he was very nervous about his purchase. He texted me the very evening that he received the shipment and he tried a bottle of the wine and he was ecstatic, and told me that I should see him tomorrow and try some for myself. I met him and we opened a bottle with a couple of others as well, and it was a very full bodied wine, with a nuance of terroir, but nothing like the Tukulu. We were enjoying a bottle of Moreson Pinotage 2012 and it was wonderful, as I was not sure what to expect from my associate. Moreson Farm is at Franschoek, South Africa and they produced forty barrels of this wine, and it was so good, that I kept some of the remaining wine in the bottle, recorked it and took it to my Bride to try, and she looked at me with some trepidation; the terroir of the Tukulu had overpowered her and she was afraid of another repeat. She enjoyed the glass that I poured and was upset that there was only one glassful left that I had brought her. That is the beauty and wonder of wines, no one can appreciate and enjoy every wine, but every one can find some to truly enjoy, and this wine is a surprise keeper for me, and from the initial taste, I am sure that it will cellar very well. And this little bottle was just right.