David Sadie of Swartland property Paardebosch says he’s “not looking within South Africa for inspiration” when it comes to making Pinotage. He typically finds local examples too dour and uses a rugby analogy: “As a young player, you can model yourself on either the Springboks or the All Blacks. In New Zealand, ball skills are prized and you have to be able to offload in contact…”
His 2014 is super-exciting. Grapes come from a vineyard established between 1991 and 1993 on granite and the winemaking involves15% whole-bunch fermentation with maturation lasting 19 months in French oak, none new. There’s also 10% Shiraz in the mix to keep things interesting and it’s only 12.5% abv…
An evocative nose of cherries, raspberries and wild strawberries, end-of-season flowers, scrub and white pepper. The palate is succulent but not sumptuous with lovely fresh acidity and fine, powdery tannins which nevertheless leave the mouth pleasantly dry. There is a small but growing category of Pinotage which does not rely on power and weight to make an impression and this is most emphatically one of them. Price: R130 a bottle.
Winemag rating: 94/100.