A tasting of ten examples of red blends featuring Pinotage, the line-up including wines that have come to the fore in one context or another as among the best in category.
I reviewed the wines with Groot Constantia winemaker Boela Gerber and James Pietersen, regular taster for Platter’s and beverage manager for Belthatzar and Balducci’s restaurants at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town. Using Riedel Restaurant Series stemware, we tasted blind with scoring done according to the 20-point system and here’s how the wines ranked (individual taster’s score below each wine):
1. = Beyerskloof Faith 2008
47% Cab, 36% Ptage, 17% Merlot. Hugely complex nose showing red and black fruit, orange peel and some leafiness. The palate is rich and full with good fruit concentration and soft tannins. Modern style but accomplished.
CE 16 BG 16.5 JP 17
1. = Beyerskloof Synergy 2008
45% Ptage, 27% Cab, 17% Merlot, 11% Shiraz
Dark fruit on the nose and palate. Great fruit purity, firm but fine tannins and lemon-like acidity – very well balanced. Long, dry finish. Oak sits well on the wine. Elegant style.
CE 18 BG 16 JP 15.5
3.= Grangehurst Nikela 2003
37% Ptage, 34% Cab, 20% Shiraz, 9% Merlot. Ripe red fruit, spice and fynbos on the nose. Also some developed character. Rich and broad on the palate with layers of flavour. Tannins show pleasant evolution. Long finish.
CE 17.5 BG 15.5 JP 15.5
3. = Kaapzicht Steytler Vision 2007
50% Cab, 35% Ptage, 15% Merlot. Toasty oak as well as some reduction on the nose. The palate is very rich and concentrated with plenty of ripe fruit and firm tannins. A blockbuster but very well done.
CE 17 BG 15.5 JP 16
5.= Ashbourne 2007
73% Ptage, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Shiraz, Ptage ’08. Plums, red currant and cassis on the nose. The palate shows pleasant austerity with pure fruit, birght, almost tart acidity and firm but fine tannins. Oak very well judged. Elegant and balanced.
CE 17 BG 14.5 JP 16.5
5.= Warwick Three Cape Ladies 2008
33.3% Cab, 33.3% Ptage, 33.3% Shiraz. Plums, black cherry and vanilla on the nose. Palate is medium-bodied with fresh acidity and firm tannins. Very dry finish. Youthful.
CE 15.5 BG15.5 JP 17
7. Clos Malverne Auret 2009
61% Cab, 25% Ptage, 14% Merlot. Red and black fruit on the nose. Medium bodied with good freshness and fine tannins. Approachable.
CE 15.5 BG 17 JP 14.5
8. Momberg 2007 (Middelvlei)
38% Cab, 31% Shiraz, 31% Ptage. Plumy fruit and hints of some microbacterial spoilage. Sweet on entry before a savoury finish. Medium bodied and easy drinking.
CE 14.5 BG 15.5 JP 15.5
9. Beyerskloof Synergy Reserve 2006
41% Pinotage,41% Shiraz, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot
Ripe dark fruit, volatile acidity and toasty oak on the nose. Sweet on entry before very dry finish. Heavily oaked and generally somewhat clumsy.
CE 15.5 BG 15.5 JP 14
10. Idiom Cabernet Sauvignon Pinotage Merlot 2006
48% Cab, 36% Ptage, 10% Merlot, 6% P Verdot. Ultra-ripe dark fruit on the nose and palate. Pronounced chocolate character. Smooth textured and sweet.
CE 14 BG 14 JP 15.5
An eleventh wine, Simonsig Frans Malan 2007, was corked and another bottle will be reviewed at a later stage.