As you might know, I have a soft spot for a good pinotage, the South African grape. I wrote about that earlier here. As I explained back then, when I first tried pinotage in the early 2000s with South African friends in Germany, my friends were very upset. The wines were incredibly hot from alcohol, and they tasted rubbery. This was in line with what I had read prior to tasting the wines. One of our friends, an older Boer lady, was so upset, that she suggested shooting people that make bad pinotage like this (she also advocated shooting wine columnists who say pinotage tatses like burnt rubber). The problem back then was, and to a certain degree still is: It is very difficult to get good pinotage outside of South Africa. There are exports, for sure, but they tend to be not very good. And the ones that taste good, cost a fortune once they reach Europe or the US.
But since, I have had some good experiences, mainly in Southern Africa. So I do believe this grape deserves another look, but it can be challenging. So thinks Lettie Teague in this piece for the Wall Street Journal. Have a great Sunday!
Wall Street Journal: Does Much-Unloved Pinotage Deserve Another Look?
My fellow blogger Anatoli wrote about South African wine gems the other day, so you might want to check that out, too, while you’re at it. It is not pinotage specific but a great read still! Read his article here.
Ever the wine adventurer, I tried Pinotage once. Hated it so never tried another.
Haha, that’s too bad though…but at least you tried it!
Oliver, I’m honored to be featured in your “Sunday Read”, thank you!
And I purposefully avoided talking about Pinotage in my post, as this probably one of the most polarizing wines in general – people either love it or hate it. Also sometimes Pinotage does become “one trick pony” and people miss the fact that there are many other great wines coming from South Africa.
Thank you for sharing, Anatoli! I agree with you: There are amazing wines out there from South Africa and it is worth not getting too hyped up about Pinotage.
I haven’t has the pinotage I love yet, but plan to keep trying. Did however have a rose that I could get enough of.
Interesting! I have yet to find a rose Pinotage…not too heavy?
It wasn’t made with Pinotage it was cab.
Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2011
Sorry for the delay in reply. It wasn’t a pinotage but a can from Mulderbosch
I think every individual creation should be assessed and evaluated by its own characteristics and merits, rather than on the assumption that it’s exactly like something else in its class. Most of us believe that–but it’s a precept that is embarrassingly difficult for me to remember to live by.
Oh, I am so with you on evaluating something on its own merits! But I also think in order to assess the particular merit, each individual creation can be compared to its class. It helps me understand what I like and dislike about it. I don’t think there is a general norm, but I believe in having my own set of developed ideas about some grapes that is formed by experience. What I strongly dislike is comparing a wine to an altogether different wine (like that horrible question “is Merlot worse than Pinot Noir”). These things bug me because they are exclusively personal choices.
I’m in total agreement.
I finally started to explore Pinotage, and my first experience wasn’t bad – Graham Beck 2010 Pinno ( http://tastingandacritic.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/graham-beck-2010-pinno-pinotage/ ). I look forward to trying others. Thank you for posting this article!
Wasn’t bad can be a good start! :)
What is your opinion on Rieslings from the Finger Lakes region – they are doing some great things!
I agree. I love some of them! I don’t know that I’ve tasted the best of the best from Germany, but I have enjoyed the good Finger Lakes Rieslings (as opposed to that candy they used to market, and some wineries still sell). They’re definitely far superior to the blue-bottle rieslings that most Americans are familiar with.
I have not had the good fortune to try any of the Finger Lakes Rieslings yet. So far I have tried a couple of Michigan Rieslings and have been quite impressed. A trip to the Finger Lakes is on the list of things to do…