Pinotage didn’t exist until 1925, when a Stellenbosch University Viticulturist (South Africa) combined it’s parents, Cinsault & Pinot Noir. After the grape was born, it wasn’t even named until 1961, when it first appeared on a label. While Pinot Noir is a notoriously difficult grape to get a consistent growth out of, it’s offspring Pinotage is much more consistent and hardy. While its flavors can be polarizing, and Pinotage has come in and out vogue a few times since 1990, it has been increasingly better crafted by winemakers. While more on the wane, this grape still has massive potential. Can 2011 Spier Pinotage unlock this potential, or is it back to vineyard for another go?
Sight: There’s a light purple edge, and a thick, deep, dark purple body.
Smell: Cherries open up right away being quickly followed up by tobacco and smoke. Touches of plum skin and ground espresso beans linger in the background.
Sip: There’s a bit of sweetness on the lead in, it dissipates being followed by cherries and plum, but it quickly veers off into tobacco, dark chocolate, and tanned leather. It gets very deep, dark, and smokey. The mouth feel is surprisingly heavy. [A.B.V. 14.5%]
Savor: Fairly aggressive tannins mix with cherries, and a smattering of tobacco and black tea. The smoke continues for a long time accompanied by firm tannins.
2011 Spier Pinotage is a smokey powerhouse of inky purple. The big surprise is really that this is the child of Cinsault and Pinot Noir. Neither of these grapes really produce wines of this size, or tannic structure It seems that the majority of this came from oaking, as most of the non-fruit characteristics are not coming from the grapes themselves. All in all, as a wine to match with a grilled fatty piece of meat, this is quite an interesting option. If you’ve never had a pinotage, 2011 Spier Pinotage is an interesting place to start.
Verdict: Massive Smoke, Cherries, Tobacco, Tannic