If you try different wines, you are bound to figure out which wine you like! Diemersfontein prides itself on being the original coffee Pinotage since 2001. It is a beautiful wine and country estate, with views of the Du Toitskloof and Bain’s Kloof mountain ranges. A 45 minute drive from Cape Town, we have been to the estate a few times, as well as some of the neighbouring Wellington wine farms, as Chomba and I had to fulfil our desire to experience the chocolate and coffee Pinotage offerings of the wines of the region. It is therefore quite surprising that I have yet to blog about a Pinotage wine, when it is such a favourite in the household.
The Pinotage wine grape is South Africa’s signature variety, and is a wine grape that came about after Abraham Perold’s experiment of crossing Pinot Noir and Cinsault (called Hermitage). Pinot Noir as a grape struggled to grow in South Africa, and Abraham was looking to have the delicious flavours of the Pinot Noir, with a vine that is productive, hence the Cinsault. The result of course is the bold wine, dark in colour and nothing like the Pinot Noir. To think I discovered the Cinsault grape recently, is quite odd given that it is a grape varietal that comes up often in my wine with friends conversations.
We were having a braai, as one does over Easter Weekend, when the sun is out and the sky is blue in South Africa. I was not sure what our guests would be in the mood for in terms of wine, as while it had been cold, the twenty two degrees Celsius left one warm in the sun, yet cold in the shade. The Pinotage was in my mind the safe red bet, as it does not have the sharp tannins that can be off putting for those more comfortable with the dry fruitier, or off dry wine. The white wine I went with was the Sauvignon Blanc, again a safe choice if you are not sure what kind of wine your guests like. Diemersfontein Pinotage was the easy choice, as I have yet to meet someone who does not rave about their Coffee/ Chocolate Pinotage.
I opened the bottle to do my tasting notes, before our guests arrived. The wine in the glass had a surprisingly purple/ red tint, as opposed to the dark red I remembered. Or at least I thought I remembered the wine as a dark red colour, rather than the shades of purple now visible to my eye. It’s a 2015 vintage, so young considering I was now drinking this two years later. This Pinotage is made to drink young though, so does not sit in the category of wines where the aging potential is many years.
The nose did have some fruity notes coming through at first for me and Chomba did pick up leathery aromas. I was not picking up the chocolate, and more picked up light smoky cigar aromas. Chomba’s dad’s study was very much a heavy dark wood look, with leather desk top, and leather bound books filling the panoramic book shelves. Leather chair and a hint of cigar was what your senses would pick up walking into the study, and the wine gave just those fragrances in combination.
On tasting the wine, it was a lot sharper than I expected. Perhaps I should have put it in a decanter, but for whatever reason I didn’t. I was in entertainment mode as the doorbell rang, and I figured the open bottles would do their work. There was a peculiar after taste to the wine, and it was not the chocolate effect I used to adore when drinking this wine. I drink my coffee black these days, and that was not the taste I was getting in my mouth either. It was almost a medicinal like after taste.
At R120-00 for a bottle at Pick n Pay, it is a Category B wine by my classification based on price. We were serving the wine at nineteen degrees Celsius, and the recommended serving temperature on the label was eighteen degrees Celsius. I had the Diemersfontein Pinotage Reserve last year. I can’t recall the vintage, but I loved it. Earlier this year I had the Diemersfontein Coffee Pinotage from Woolworths, and that was also enjoyable. For whatever reason, today this Pinotage did not have my taste buds ululating. My guests did approve, which is what matters when you are entertaining I suppose.