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November 9, 2006

The Appeal of South African Pinotage

South African Grape HarvestingWe've always been fans of the notion that not all wine comes from California and Europe, and we've been noticing a lot of nice inexpensive wines coming out of Africa. We've found an article singing the praises of Pinotage, a graft of pinot noir and cinsault grapes invented in the 20th century in South Africa.

The tasting notes we read appealed to our adventurous side, and while there are mentions of everything from rotten fruit to salsa in the tasting notes, it always seems to be "in a good way." Plus, prices seem to range from $8.50 to $15, so we're up to give it a try since it won't hit the wallet too hard.

Check out our choices below, and head over to Philadelphia Citypaper.net for a full rundown and more selections.

Cathedral Cellar 1999 ($13)

Here is proof positive that pinotage can age. This fascinating oddball stood out from the pack. A huge nose, with anise, beets, pepper, blue cheese, plums and, oh hell, throw the whole fridge in. Don't waste any time getting to this; one taster detected a fade, while another declared that the time to drink this is now.

Simonsig 2002 ($15)

More than a few tasters commented on the elegance of this wine. A beautiful balance of sweet and tart mouth feel, with vibrant red fruit tones on the nose. Seductive purple color. Lovely finish. Some found this a bit forward, even metallic, but the consensus was that this is a classically pretty quaff.

Fairview 2005 ($13)

This came across as a racy young thing, with a tartness that crossed the line into sourness for some. Flowers lurking in the nose. The host detected rotten fruit on the back of the tongue, but in a good way. Screw top enclosure is a hip touch.

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Posted by Head Wino at November 9, 2006 7:30 AM
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