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Paul B.

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WTN: 2003 Beaumont Pinotage (Walker Bay, SA)

by Paul B. » Mon Jul 31, 2006 11:45 pm

14% alc. Deep, dark black-cherry colour. Proper nose of leather and cherry, a bit liquorous perhaps. Big New World style entry, with up-front fruit, a warm mid-palate and a somewhat off-dry finish. There are very few edges in this Pinotage. Personally I like a bit of leather, a bit of wild strawberry, some banana esters - none of these qualities were really there. However, a tiny bit of aft-palate bitterness did show up, saving the day. It's obviously well-made Pinotage, but in a somewhat different style this time around than what I most love about the variety.

And now, a digression ...

Some time back (quite a few years ago, actually) I posted a few requests to WLDGers to inform me of any wineries making old-style Pinotage these days. I renew my plea today: Please, if any of you tries a Pinotage that's truly old-style, do let me know - I would be most interested in procuring it. (Note: By "old-style" I'm thinking of the pre-Internationalization style of Pinotage that caused such an uproar; Pinotage that had edges, and lots of them. Some felt that the wines were flawed, but I never felt this way because none of them were ever vinegary or overtly volatile; they just had this sort of dour, bitter leatheriness about them.) I really liked those old ones. In the good old days, you could still buy Oude Libertas Pinotage at the LCBO - on general list, no less! - for a mere $7.95! It was bitter and leathery and had lots of plum/wild-strawberries on the nose. I loved it.
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Re: WTN: 2003 Beaumont Pinotage (Walker Bay, SA)

by Otto » Tue Aug 01, 2006 4:24 pm

Paul B. wrote:Some time back (quite a few years ago, actually) I posted a few requests to WLDGers to inform me of any wineries making old-style Pinotage these days.


First of all, good to see you back and posting. Secondly thanks for the recent notes. Thirdly, though I love my funk and edges in wines, I haven't ever really warmed up to Pinotage (though we are probably having a major Pinotage tasting soon here) so I don't know what to recommend. But just as a guideline: how do you view Southern Right's Pinotage? Modern? This seems to be easily available and had quite a bit of the cumin-like edges that I associate with the grape. It seemed a fine effort in the cheaper range, but I really couldn't say if it is modern or not.

-Otto-
I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.
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Re: WTN: 2003 Beaumont Pinotage (Walker Bay, SA)

by Paul B. » Tue Aug 01, 2006 4:41 pm

Otto Nieminen wrote:But just as a guideline: how do you view Southern Right's Pinotage? Modern?

Thanks, Otto, for the WB!

I'm afraid that I'm at a loss to answer your specific question, though, because I haven't ever tried the Southern Right. I can't recall it ever being featured at Vintages (our monopoly here in Ontario). I think that Peter May should be able to answer that one, though bear in mind that our tastes in Pinotage tend to be a bit antipodean at times ... ;)

As for the grape itself ... I have to tell you, Otto, that to me, Pinotage done in a non-softened-down style is what I consider to be one of the most admirably "classic" reds of all; a challenging wine that forms the complete antithesis of the cheery/easy/sociably-correct style. I can't claim to enjoy Pinotage that has noticeable residual sugar, has had its esters toned down and has been catered to sensitive tastes. These, of course, are my decidedly immodest opinions; others view the style I enjoy as dour, backward and unlikeable ... but everything has its unique reference point, and I know what I like. I like it because it offers a welcome counterpoint to the trend that seeks to make everything easy and unchallenging - part of the reason why, as with so many things in life, if you want interesting, stay away from the mass stuff.
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Re: WTN: 2003 Beaumont Pinotage (Walker Bay, SA)

by Peter May » Tue Aug 01, 2006 5:10 pm

Paul B. wrote: Pinotage that had edges, and lots of them. Some felt that the wines were flawed, but I never felt this way because none of them were ever vinegary or overtly volatile; they just had this sort of dour, bitter leatheriness about them.)


Paul

I've said it before. You are not talking about the Pinotage variety, you are talking about faulty wines. Pinotage is a difficult variety to vinify and unfortunately there were a lot of faulty South African Pinotages released. 'Dour, bitter leatheriness' is not a characteristic of the variety as anyone who has enjoyed California or New Zealand Pinotages can attest, but a result of bacterial infection in some SA wineries and that seemed to affect Pinotage most.
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Re: WTN: 2003 Beaumont Pinotage (Walker Bay, SA)

by Paul B. » Tue Aug 01, 2006 5:16 pm

I'm not sure what to think of those bacteria, Peter, especially since we count on bacteria to perform malolactic fermentation in many excellent wines; therefore I'm not altogether convinced that these bacteria weren't providing a service to those who, like myself, actually enjoyed Pinotage with all those characteristics. I'm sure you are correct and all that that's what caused it ... but I can't help thinking that so many good wineries (Zonnebloem, Kanonkop, Delheim, to name so very few) have put out bitter Pinotage and in all respects the wines were excellent - they just had that bitter leatheriness in them. Whatever the causes, all I can say is that I enjoy Pinotage in that old mould. :!:

To my experience, in any case, a Pinotage with absolutely no bitterness is something I've never experienced before, and am not sure I'd even like. Others seem to have noticed the bitterness too, e.g. from http://www.wineint.com:

Pinotage [pee-noh-tazh] Controversial Pinot Noir x Cinsault cross with a spicy, plummy character and a recognisable bitter note that is usually the flavour that lingers longest. Developed and first used in South Africa in the 1950s and now rarely found elsewhere, apart from occasional examples in New Zealand and California. Winemakers like Beryers Truter of Kanonkop and Beryerskloof love it dearly; others like Andre van Rensberg of Vergelegen think otherwise. (He likened it to excrement, though using blunter language.) Good old examples are brilliant but rare; most taste muddy and rubbery. New winemaking and international demand are making for more exciting wines. Beyerskloof; Clos Malverne; Fairview; Grangehurst; Kanonkop; Longridge; Saxenberg; Simonsig; Warwick.
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Re: WTN: 2003 Beaumont Pinotage (Walker Bay, SA)

by Peter May » Tue Aug 01, 2006 6:25 pm

Paul, I know you like bitterness but you are in a minority.

The fact that others remarked on it just means they tasted the affected Pinotages. And since wineint.com (whoever they are) can't even get Beyer's name or the pronunciation of the variety correct I don't accept them as an authority on the subject.
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Re: WTN: 2003 Beaumont Pinotage (Walker Bay, SA)

by Robin Garr » Tue Aug 01, 2006 6:46 pm

Peter May wrote:pronunciation of the variety correct


OK, I'll bite. "[pee-noh-tazh]" looks about right to me. How would you say it, Peter?

(I'll agree with your other point, though. I admire Paul's spirit, and in theory accept that everyone has a right to his or her own taste preferences, but it's a bit odd to celebrate dirty, flawed wine making.)
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Re: WTN: 2003 Beaumont Pinotage (Walker Bay, SA)

by Paul B. » Wed Aug 02, 2006 12:32 am

Robin Garr wrote:I admire Paul's spirit, and in theory accept that everyone has a right to his or her own taste preferences, but it's a bit odd to celebrate dirty, flawed wine making.)

All I can say is that whenever you enjoy your next stinky treat, whether it's some gooey unpasteurized cheese or some other delicacy (and keep in mind that I love these things too!), it's best to remember that the final product is what we enjoy. Who cares how it was made! :twisted:
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