Pinotage - unique and wonderful, or the devil’s sweat

We are presenting wines at our wine club in November and we’d like to explore SA as a country we haven’t really done justice too before. We’ve got our eyes on some Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay; Syrah and Pinot Noir.

We would like to offer a Pinotage as part of that tasting and the local wine shop we will be sourcing the bottles from has just the two.

We have little experience of this grape. Do you have views on either of these two as a reasonable introduction to the grape?

Not at all re the junk British press, I dont read it.
The list is pretty significant demonstrating Macron’s well publicied stance championing the EU’s toughness on the UK following Brexit.
More recent issues concern:
Sending insufficient border officers to Dover at the start of the school holidays, causing thousands to queue for up to 24 hours to get on their ferrys in order to take the kids on probably the first holiday many would have had in years.
Dont get me started on the circa 60 million £ the French have taken from us in order to stop the dangerous chanel dingy crossings. Lets face it this shouldnt be a difficult problem to solve with modern technology, a couple of drones and police on off road motorbikes.

Idiocy you say. There’s certainly plenty of that about.

We just dont seem to be able to think our way out of a paper bag at the moment.

Sadly these days we can only dream of being lucky enough to have a leader like Macron.


You’re probably right, but hopefully we’d manage to be a bit more neighbourly.

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Hang on we ‘took back control’.

Either we ‘took back control’ or the French can now hold us to ransom, because we chose to leave the club - it can’t be both.

Either way, the fact that we surrendered what control we already had to the ‘nasty French’, who apparently can grind our entire border to a halt by turning up late for work, is an act of gross stupidity isn’t it? Like handing your winning hand to your opponent and asking them to be fair to you. It just doesn’t make any sense at all.


Anyway, back on-topic, I can’t say I’ve got a wealth of experience with Pinotage, but I have enjoyed many bottles of the Kadette blend and I find it can be an economic choice (as can SA wines generally) on some restaurant wine lists.

In my limited experience, I feel it’s a grape that benefits from a bit of age. A bottle or two of this one (with a decent bit of age) went very well with a particulaly memorable meal with the family a few years ago:


If you are restricted to buying from one shop, then of course you can only select from the wines they stock.

I have frequently been asked to present tastings of RSA wines. RSA produces over 8,000 wines from more than 900 producers, and most are small.

I think that, to taste RSA one must have Chenin as as mcuh Chenin is planed there as the rest of the world altogether, Problem is that every style of Chenin is made so you’d need 9 Chenins just to show different styles, then what about the exciting blends that have Chenin as a component? And one must - IMO - show Pinotage, as RSA originated the variety and although excellent Pinotage is made elsewhere, RSA is its home and where the overwhelming number of plantings are. But again, it made in all sorts of styles (as we have read in this thread) - and as well as red wines, there are white Pinotages, sparkling ones, fortified and brandies.

I have looked through the RSA wines listed by your merchant and I would struggle.

I have not tasted either. Vriesenhof is winery owned by Jan Coetzee, who was the second winemaker at Kanonkop Estate (but Kanonkop’s Pinotage reputation was made by his successor, Beyers Truter). I can’t find this wine in Platter, neither is it listed on Vriesenhof’s website and I am also chary of its multi-vintage mix.

Pinot Noir is one of the recent successes, but the reputation comes from Hemel - en - Aarde Valley. I can see only two PNs, I’ve been to both wineries but if I tasted Fryer Cove PN it made no impression. I’ve not tasted the Chamonix listed here, but I think that’s the one to pick as they are making some excellent wines.

One wine I definitely would get is the Cederberg Bukketraube. This was - for a short time - at Waitrose in the rare varieties ‘Loved & Found’ series. It’s an 'orrible name to English speakers but Bukket means bouquet, and it’s a very aromatic white wine that on first taste seems sweet, but …

It’s an extremely rare variety, almost vanished and I think Cederberg are the only makers of a varietal version.

However, the selection at TWS is better…


You do need to watch where you’re putting your quotation marks and misquoting people. I never said the French were nasty, I said I believed they had been nasty to us. Which considering the circumstances is probably a reasonable thing to say.
You’re quite right though, they’re treating us as an oponent and stiffing us at every oportunity. Rather than treating us as friends and neighbours.
Did our Brexiting need to cause such animosity, personally I would have hoped not. But very sadly it has.


We asked them to stamp our passports. They offered a solution for us that didn’t involve such tedious delay. We - I say we, our government and it’s agenda of blame and obfuscation - turned it down.

You’re blaming the wrong people. I’m pretty certain it’s not that you can’t see it, it’s that you don’t want to see it.

No we didn’t do that. The FCDO advised British travellers to ensure that their passports were stamped when entering the Shengen Zone, which border officials were obliged to do. Otherwise British travellers could find themselves in trouble if accused of overstaying their welcome of 90 days. Following Brexit we have third country status in the EU and stamping is mandatory for ALL such countries.

Sorry - just so I understand here - we entered into an agreement with clear outcomes under the rules that were clearly set out, that we wished to enforce on ourselves, yet when those rules are applied - as they are to everyone else (and I’ll repeat, solutions were offered), by the authority that has to enforce them (in this instance the French, for it is their and the EU’s border) the application is ‘nasty’?

How? Were you expecting special treatment because we’re British?

Of course I’m not expecting special treatment because we’re British.
We Brexited after a democratic vote. Not that I voted to do that, as I didn’t.
Certain rules then came into play and the French border officials are required to stamp our passports as we enter France. Such is life.
With entente cordiale as it currently stands, do you really think it expedient to accept some agreement where our passports are not stamped (as required by their rules), and hope they’ll be decent about it on the way home.
These are their rules and it is their responsibility to stick by them. Using said rules as leverage to make life difficult on what they knew was going to be the bussiest day of the year, out of spite, by not supplying the necessary officials is being a bit nasty if you ask me.

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If it was one day you might have an argument. As it stands, we’ve had a permanent queue for months. This is what you wanted - whether you voted for it or not.

Why does pinotage seem to warrant such opprobrium in some quarters? The poll, when I looked, split about 2/3s for, 1/3 against. I don’t know but can’t help thinking that several other grapes might get a similar result - SB, Gewuertztraminer, Malbec, for example. Even very widely used grapes, CS, Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, wouldn’t get 100% support. But they don’t appear to come in for the same response. Curious.

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Returning to the subject of Pinotage, for me it’s “When it is good it is very, very good, and when it is bad it is horrid.” I really enjoy good Pinotage, generally at the rather weightier end, but I have also had enough bad stuff - though, to be fair, mainly some years back - that I am cautious about buying any without tasting it. So, going back to the original question, I’d tick both boxes.


For gods sakes man this is NOT what I wanted, what on earth gave you that idea.
How on earth could you reasonably suggest I would want this whether I voted for it or not. Thats just outragous.
Reasoned arguement doesn’t work with some folks who then tend towards chucking their toys out the pram as a last resort to defend their own twisted reason.
I give up.

I would like to appologies to all for leading this thread away from it’s topic.


Thank you Peter that is very helpful. I’ll take a look at the TWS offerings. We just thought it would be nice to support a local shop as, for some reason, not all members of our group are TWS members :scream:

Brekshit certainly seems to get folks into a frenzy one way or another.


Seems to be a bit like Pinotage then!!!

For what it’s worth, I like it. But I have to have the right food for it to go with, or be in the right mood.

Sometimes I just want a big, powerful red and Pinotage hits the spot. Sometimes, I don’t - at which point, it tastes like licking an Ashtray.

I might have to try another one when I get back from this work course in a couple of weeks time!