Pinotage seems to be a Marmite grape – you either love it or hate it. Or like Tim Atkin did recently with one of his Wines of the Week you love it because it doesn’t taste like itself!
I’m in the love it camp – I like Marmite too by the way - but I agree it can be a bit unpredictable and I don’t have it mentally on my ‘safe bets’, which everyone will enjoy, list.
The same goes for this Houdamond Pinotage 2009 which stood out for me at a recent tasting event, as being much more interesting than the norm.
Pinotage has become South Africa’s signature red grape. It’s relatively ‘young’ in varietal terms having only been created in 1925 through crossing Pinot Noir and Cinsault (often called Hermitage). It’s said the Prof. who did the crossing was seeking to combine the elegance of the former with the yields and hardiness of the latter. This wine is made by the Bellevue Estate in Stellenbosch, who proudly claim to to be one of the first vineyards to grow Pinotage grapes back in the 1950′s.
The first thing to say is that this is a ‘big’, powerful wine with 14.5% alcohol. However, it isn’t just all shouty fruit; there’s more complexity than that – especially on the intense nose. Dark plums mingle with vanilla notes and intriguing smokey bacon aromas. I definitely thought I detected a waft of sweet maple cured bacon.
On the palate the deep plum flavours are complimented by sweet spice and smokiness – not bacon this time. The wine has great length too.
Interestingly, I noticed on the label that this says it is a vegan wine – so maybe I should go easy on the bacon mentions!
This wine is available from Marks & Spencer priced £9.49. Pick up a bottle for a treat if you’d like to try something different.
W.O.W. factor 7