Checking out the New Pinotages

Front from left, Leon Dippenaar, Breedekloof-based viticulturist and De Wet Viljoen, chairman of the Pinotage Association's organising committee and cellar master at Neethlingshof. Back from left, Ilse van Dijk, winemaker at Deetlefs Estate in Rawsonville and Francois Bezuidenhout, winemaker at Ashton Wine Cellar
Front from left, Leon Dippenaar, Breedekloof-based viticulturist and De Wet Viljoen, chairman of the Pinotage Association's organising committee and cellar master at Neethlingshof. Back from left, Ilse van Dijk, winemaker at Deetlefs Estate in Rawsonville and Francois Bezuidenhout, winemaker at Ashton Wine Cellar
A selection of 13 tank and barrel samples from eight wine areas formed the basis of this year’s annual Pinotage vintage tasting held in Stellenbosch last week to evaluate the quality of Pinotage from the 2009 harvest. The diversity of the Pinotage ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ South Africa’s indigenous red wine grape cultivar ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ was again emphasised at this event, says Pinotage spokesman and guru Marius Labuschagne.
So, Lappies, what’s the deal?
Well, during the 2008/9 season all major Pinotage areas experienced varying weather conditions relating to temperature and rain. After the tasting of the 13 wines by winemakers, wine experts and wine writers, the consensus was that all the Pinotage wines were of good quality, even though there were varying styles.
What kinds of styles?
These ranged from full-bodied to those with prominent fruit and uniform tastiness.
What did my mate De Wet Viljoen, chairman of the Pinotage Association’s organising committee, have to say?
Ja, he said the annual tasting serves as a barometer for the rest of the year, as well as an indicator of how the wines are going show when bottled. I’ll even quote him for you:
“The wines which were tasted this year showed good structure, the fruit is complex and here and there some are still a little shy. This indicates great potential, I think the wines have good ageing potential and are wines to look out for in about three years from now. Those wines made in a more commercial style, showed wonderfully at this early stage, with soft, rounded tannins and juicy fruit ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ wines which you can enjoy all evening.” (I guess De Wet is a night-time kind of guy.)
Guy Webber from Stellenzicht also chipped in:
“This year’s Pinotage wines again showed that this cultivar can offer concentrated and flavourful wines under varying climates and that the natural fruitiness of this red wine variety comes to the fore with or without wood treatment. This is something not all red wines can do.”
And don’t forget Abrie Beeslaar, Kanonkop cellarmaster and executive member of the Pinotage Association:
“There are more different styles out of all the areas this year, with nice colour and fruit, even though the alcohols were relatively high due to the sugars which picked up quickly due to early ripening caused by the warm weeks we experienced in February. Due to the lower yields and smaller berries my conclusion is that the majority of wines are going to develop fantastically ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ there was not one bad wine presented.”
So, you guys tasted and spoke?
Just about. But Breedekloof viticulturist, Leon Dippenaar, did a special presentation on the analyses of the 2009 harvest in the different regions. His assessment from all the climatic data he received, is that this should be a good quality year for Pinotage.
“The good, cold winter allowed the vines to rest properly, while the dry weather during the berry forming phase, which resulted in smaller berries and thus more flavours and rainfall in December, kept the foliage fresh and provided sufficient water and flavour development. This, together with cool weather during the ripening period in January all indicate a very good year, especially with good juice ratios, colour and flavour concentrations,” was how Leon summed it up.
The conclusion was that in spite of the different styles created in the 2008/9 season, the coastal regions especially, would this year present outstanding Pinotages.
Lekker Lappies, and thanks. Laat dit juig!

Emile Joubert

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *