Thursday, April 24, 2008

Let's go South

The Pinotage grape has been grown in South Africa for almost 100 years. It is a hybrid of pinot noir and cinsault. I like the big fruit that comes from this grape but it can be somewhat finicky to grow. During fermentation it has been known to produce a significant amount of isoamyl acetate giving it a paint-like smell and taste. This evening I opened a bottle of La Cave 2003 pinotage produced by the Wamakersvallei winery in Wellington, South Africa. This is a deeply colored wine with an inky quality. The nose I would say is terrific with gobs of dark red and black fruits and hints of tropical bananas (as the label says). I pick up cocoa and leather as well on the nose. On the palate the fruit is big and heavy. The tannins are very solid yet not too overpowering. Cherries and blackberries mingle with oak and chocolate in the mid-palate. Unfortunately this wine has a rather unpleasant finish reminiscent of gasoline and plastic. I wonder if that is some of the isoamyl acetate coming through. You don't notice it too much until the long lasting fruit wanes, but it leaves you with a chemical taste at the end that is hard to overcome. Because of that I have to score this wine lower. I would give it a 90 for the up front fruit and mid-palate but an 80 for what it does on the end.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

I discovered your blog on Technorati and it is very interesting. I saw that youd written about Layer Cake Shiraz, which I love, and a Zin you had from Mendocino County. I had a 2006 Zin (edmeades) the other night and it was yummy. I'll be stopping by your blog from time to time. I also blog about wine drinking (though I am a novice) and running.