A wine’s flavour can suggest many things besides grapes: blackberries, vanilla, citrus, chocolate, herbs, even tar or hay. It’s all in the mind and sometimes merely in the crazed craniums of wine critics. But there’s a new style of South African red that leaves little doubt as to what’s on offer. It has been dubbed coffee pinotage and the flavour has Starbucks written all over it.
In fact, the labels on most brands provide the first not-so-subtle clue. There’s Barista, Cappuccino Pinotage, Café Culture, Coffee Pinotage, The Bean and The Grinder, to name a few. The last two even feature images of a coffee bean and an old-fashioned hand-crank grinder, respectively. It’s enough to make you reach for an espresso cup in lieu of fancy stemware.
Several brands were recently launched in various provinces across Canada, ramping up the coffee-wine buzz that has been building since the launch of the first such example, Diemersfontein Pinotage, a decade ago.
Based on South Africa’s signature red grape, pinotage, the phenomenon is the accidental brainchild of Bertus Fourie, Diemersfontein’s former winemaker. A master’s graduate in oenology from the University of Stellenbosch, Mr. Fourie had specialized in the effects of wood aging on wine. By lining steel tanks with heavily charred French-oak staves the secret is in the temperature and duration of toasting and fermenting with a special strain of yeast, the wine developed an uncanny essence of espresso as well as chocolate. A similar thing happens with other varieties, but not to the same degree as with pinotage.
Strange Random Wine Quote:
- Pinotage on Tap (POT) comes to the UK (pinotage.org)
- Taste Pinotage Sunshine on 16 Dec (pinotage.org)
- The Power of Pinotage! (cybercellar.wordpress.com)
- Cape Ardor Launches a Dedicated South African Wine Website in the United States (prweb.com)
- The Wines of South Africa (winebookclub.org)
- South African winemaker uncorks award (travelnews.britishairways.com)
- Bokke Wines Portfolio Tasting (gothicepicures.blogspot.com)
- Naked Wines to Host Crowd-powered Online Auction with South African Producers (prweb.com)
- Biodiversity Bombshell (blogs.timeslive.co.za)
- Beyers follows Mao with a new little red book (blogs.timeslive.co.za)
- Black South African tastes success in winemaking (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Great South African Pinot (barrys-wine.blogspot.com)