An adventurous spirit searching for balance
15 Jul 2013
a daring wine enjoyed by adventurous people; it is not a traditional red wine.
Its South African roots give it a unique provenance, and local winemakers have
to work hard to create wines that harness the distinctive qualities of the
grape while appealing to global palates.
It is not
possible to simply put Pinotage in a barrel and leave it to mature like some
more traditional varietals. Pinotage needs to be cared for; it needs constant
attention to tame its wild spirit and create a wine that has complexity and
richness. Winemakers often construct a more layered wine by using oak and
fermenting the grapes in separate barrels using different techniques to bring
specific components to the final product.
technique is to use other varietals to balance Pinotage (for example, Shiraz
can be used instead of oak). It is the perfect blending partner. Either way, it
is a wine that searches for a mate to bring equilibrium: either through
maturation, blending or through food.
only truly sings when paired with the right kind of food; that with a rustic
style to meet the wine’s wilder nature. So no cultured, fussy cuisine for
Pinotage – the dishes need to be earthy, smoky or spiced such as braaied Karoo
lamb or game, or incorporating Cape Malay or Moroccan/Turkish-style spices.
excellent aging potential and super consistency year after year. Spier’s 21
Gables Pinotage is produced from a single vineyard in Faure, close to Spier. It
is created in a distinctive style, which is determined both by the winemaking
technique and the fact that the vineyard is unusually close to the ocean,
benefiting from the cool False Bay breezes.
Spier’s top-tier Pinotage delivers consistency and quality. Last year, the 21
Gables Pinotage 2010 was named one of the top ten Pinotage wines in South
Africa in the prestigious ABSA Pinotage Top 10 competition. The annual
competition is organised by the Pinotage Association in order to promote the
varietal. Its aim is to identify ten wines that serve as benchmark for the
development of distinctive South African Pinotage, and illustrate the
uniqueness of Pinotage in the international wine world.
Master, Frans Smit has been invited to join the judging panel at the ABSA
Pinotage Top 10 competition this year. Along with his team – including senior
red winemaker Johan Jordaan and viticulturist Johann Smit – he is a winemaker
renowned for his distinctive interpretation of Pinotage.
good bottle of Pinotage when visiting South Africa has become as customary as
drinking good vodka in Russia. And for South Africans passionate about their
heritage, Pinotage offers a more adventurous alternative to other red wines. It
is a conversation piece for dinner parties – SA-style with friends, laughter
and gemsbok on the braai, or a sizzling pot of curry on the stove.
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