Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Durbanville Wine Valley Pinotage Media day at Meerendal.

It is obvious from various tastings we have experienced over the last few months that Pinotage is coming of age in a big way. And that it is doing well outside of the recognised terroirs. This was reinforced by a tasting of some the Durbanville Pinotages at Meerendal recently
Angela Fourie, the PRO for the Durbanville Wine Valley. National Pinotage Day was held this year on Saturday, 9th October and there were many Pinotage celebrations throughout the winelands
She welcomed us and explained that each wine we were tasting would be introduced by someone from that farm, where possible the winemaker
Bennie Howard, public relations officer for Meerendal Estate, talked about the Pinotages in the valley and the history of Pinotage. Pinotage is having a ball, getting great sales here and abroad. People overseas recognise it and Chenin as representing South Africa. Pinotage in Durbanville used to be the biggest planted red grape, it was all sold to Stellenbosch Farmers Winery. Then Sauvignon Blanc became popular in the 80's and took over, and farmers began to make their own wine from it. 6 farms of the 12 use it in their wines. It is easy to grow, harvest and make, can produce 12 tons a hectare and is a good cash crop. It also is an early season grape. Durbanville has an advantage because of the hills, the soils and wind cooled climate from the daily sea breezes, which produces a lighter more elegant style made for drinking, not the usual big rich and fat wines produced on the warmer mountain climes
Time to taste
Bennie Howard, King of Durbanville Pinotage
Bennie became one of the first three Cape Wine Masters in 1983
We began with the Altydgedacht 2015 and winemaker Etienne Louw took us through the wine. Incense wood with notes of herbal forest floor and smoky bacon. It is elegant and restrained with long flavours of rhubarb, mulberries and cranberries
Then winemaker Mari Branders showed us the Diemersdal Reserve 2015 which is 50% bush vine. 6 years in the ABSA Top 10 Pinotages, the wine has red velvet, bacon and cherries on the nose with morello cherries and chalky tannins on the palate. It needs time
Tasting Room Manager Douglas Swanson took us through the De Grendel 2015 Black Label Pinotage, made by Charles Hopkins. This was only a preview of the wine which is new to the range and will be released on the 2nd of November. It was our favourite wine of the tasting. Again it has that smoky bacon on the nose (is this a Durbanville characteristic or was it the kitchen smells?) It is full of rich dark red berries on the nose and palate, great fruit, lots of elderberry and soft chalky tannins. An exciting wine which will age well
Etienne le Roux from Bloemendal talked us through their light 2014 Pinotage and told us that it is their intention to make the style more like Pinot Noir, which we don't understand. It has notes of violets and red fruit on the nose and soft sweet fruit with minimal tannins on the palate. It is juicy and indeed more like the parent Pinot Noir than the other Pinotages
Wilhelm Coetzee, red winemaker at Durbanville Hills told us about the Rhinofields 2014 Pinotage, which spends one year in barrel. This has serious wood, smoky, dark toast, followed by fruit and some herbal fynbos. Silky soft on the palate with black cherries, some maraschino hints, and cranberries. One to keep and savour
Meerendal Cellarmaster Lisa Goodwin talked about their Heritage Block 2010 Pinotage. Again, smoky bacon, cherries and mulberries on the nose. Soft strawberry fruit
Mr Pinotage. Beyers Truter was a guest at the tasting ...
... and seemed to be enjoying the wines
The line up of Pinotages
And others to taste with lunch. The magnum of 1996 Meerendal Pinotage was an excellent example of how well this varietal ages
Starter was a beef carpaccio with beetroot, caper berries, olives, goats cheese and rocket. A good match to the Pinotages
Bennie making sure we have wine to drink with lunch
The main course was a game or beef pot pie with yellow rice and lovely blanched vegetables that were good dipped in the rich pie sauce. The meat was rather dry though
The brave chef produced Chocolate fondants for the large crowd and they worked, all were dark and oozy as they should be. Topped with ice cream and a strawberry they were a nice end to the meal and the tasting
Durbanville Pinotage people with two guests: Duimpie Bayly, who has done much to help them in the past and Beyers Truter. Thank you. We think Pinotage in Durbanville has a good future, No metallic tastes were found, very little banana and no rust. Well done
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016

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