Koen and Lore Roose, importers of South African wine into Belgium for over a decade, acquired land in Elgin in 2005 intent on making their own wine. They’ve planted small parcels of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc as well as Pinotage and Pinot Noir and also buy in fruit from Stellenbosch – wines from own grapes under the Spioenkop label and wines that incorporate outside fruit under the “1900” label.
The 1900 Pinotage 2010 featured 95% Stellenbosch fruit and 5% Elgin – I nominated it for 5 Stars in the 2012 edition of Platter’s but it was ultimately not endorsed. Tasting it yesterday with the Rooses, I still think it’s pretty smart.
Raspberry, red and black cherry, cloves and cinnamon, even some black olive. Medium bodied with fresh acidity and fine tannins. An ever so slight rusticity about it – far less than some examples of the grape and really only adding interest (cf. Cindy Crawford’s mole).
Roose says he approaches Pinotage like Pinot Noir. “I want to avoid over-extraction and wine that is too dark in colour. I don’t want to taste jammy flavours.” His 2011 was less successful (he admits a slight “funkiness” crept in) but 2012, now featuring 70% of his own fruit and recently released at R180 a bottle, is back on track and shows extraordinary fruit purity. See Platter’s 2014 for a final verdict.