Thursday 23 November 2017

Wine: Discovering Pinotage

Liam Campbell. Photo: Fran Veale
Liam Campbell. Photo: Fran Veale
Veldfire pinotage
Makulu pinotage
Simonsig pinotage
Graham Beck pinotage
Avenir pinotage

Pinotage, a champion to South African authenticity, is its signature native wine. Born 90 years ago in 1925 to parents Pinot Noir and Cinsault - and reflecting South Africa's diversity of cultures and tribes from Africa, Asia and Europe - Pinotage is still finding itself. It can be crisp and fresh in a Beaujolais-style with red berry character, or more intense and lush in a full-bodied, spicy and blackberry style. Pinotage, like its homeland, is on its own journey of self-discovery.

1) ) Pinotage 2013, Veldfire, Walker Bay 14.5pc

Bright berry fruits aromas. Delicious juicy and full-bodied, rich and peppery black fruits. Smooth tannins and integrated alcohol. Get exotic with a lamb tagine and couscous.

€16.99 at The Grapevine, Glasnevin, Dublin; Topaz Station, Blackrock, Co. Cork and La Touche Wines, Greystones.

2) Pinotage 2013, Makulu, Western Cape 13pc

Milk chocolate aromas. Milder style of Pinotage. Blueberry fresh fruit with crisp acidity. Needs food for the persistent drying tannins. Ignite with a chilli con carne.

€8.99 nationwide at select EuroSpar, Spar and Mace stores.

3) Ancient Earth Pinotage 2013, Bellingham, Coastal Region 14pc

Roasted coffee and mocha aromas. Sappy fruit and firm tannins. Well balanced and tingling acidity. Unpretentious and honest flavours. Try with a sirloin steak pan-fried in butter and crushed black peppercorns.

€9.99 at Next Door off-licences nationwide; No. 21 off-licences, Cork; O'Donovan's chain, Cork citywide; La Touche, Greystones. In Dublin: Redmond's, Ranelagh and Kelly's Wine Vault, Clontarf.

4) Pinotage 2010, Simonsig, Stellenbosch 14.5pc

Varnishy aromas. Dark chocolate palate with firm tannins and crisp acidity. Ripe black fruits. Try with venison stewed with red wine and juniper berries.

€13.99 in Dublin at Rowan's, Rathfarnham; The Vintry, Rathgar; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; Drinkstore, Manor Street; and La Touche, Greystones, Co. Wicklow.

5) The Game Reserve Pinotage 2012, Graham Beck, Western Cape 13.5pc

Contrasting ripe berry and vegetal aromas. Sweet and ripe fruit flavours, red plum and sour cherry. Gentle tannins, crisp, juicy and medium-bodied. Get comfortable with a cheesy lasagne.

€15.99 at O'Brien's 32 stores nationwide; Egan's, Portlaoise; O'Driscoll's, Ballinlough, Cork; 1601, Kinsale and La Touche Wines, Greystones. In Dublin: Jus De Vine, Portmarnock; Redmond's, Ranelagh and Martin's, Fairview.

6) Pinotage 2014, L'Avenir, Stellenbosch 13.5pc

Muted aromas. Bitter chocolate richness is cut by refreshing blueberries and sappy freshness. A rhubarb finish and gentle tannins. Enjoy with beef stroganoff using wild mushrooms.

€16.49 at Mitchell's, CHQ, IFSC and Glasthule in Dublin. In Wicklow at Avoca Handweavers, Kilmacanogue.

Tasting notes

Win a case of wine worth €200 or a free dinner with wine pairings, explore self-guided wine tastings and wine trails - these are just some of the exciting Dublin wine experiences on offer throughout the first Dublin Wine Fest, coming to over 25 Dublin restaurants and bars from April 20-25. For further details, contact: Aoife Carrigy at or see,  @IrishBeverages and #DublinWineFest

Irish Independent

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