Like most rational beings, I hold Pinotage at arms length, since I don’t find the smell of burnt rubber or the taste of rusty nails particularly enticing. But this Pinotage is easy to embrace; a first rate effort with a difficult grape.
The nose of prominent black cherry throws lots of barely discernible hints at you—smoke with a hint of game, charred wood, loam mixed with dust, and an overall floral impression if you step back from the details.
The medium body is firm but supple. A layer of soft, lissome fruit surrounds a firm, dark core up front. Tense stone emerges against polished oak at midpalate and becomes quite punchy on the finish where red, hi-tone fruit is prominent. The finish has a remarkably fresh demeanor. Cool and crisp with residual fruit persistence over refined tannins, it fades with a long, gentle elan. The wine comes together beautifully.
Brash and cathartic with its life and freshness, its lucid rhythms rollicking but resolute with a sense of agile confidence and style like the Talking Heads “Burnin’ Down the House.”
Notes: In business since 1994, this Bot River/Walker Bay winery makes Pinotage from mostly 45 year old vines. Walker Bay, about 60 miles from Cape Town on the South Coast of the Western Cape, is one of the cooler regions in South Africa. The grapes are fermented in concrete tanks and the wine is then aged in French oak (25% new) for 18 months and then in a tank for 8 more months.