for the offensive abbreviation everybody, but really, what is going on with all
these coffee-flavoured wines?
It all started with Diemersfontein about ten
years ago when Bertus ‘Starbucks’ Fourie discovered that the Aussies were
making some rather interesting Shirazes using staves instead of barrels (which
means fewer costs) and which had some very distinctive flavours of coffee,
chocolate and mocha – for the record, none of these things are added to the
wine, it’s simply to do with the wood – how much it’s toasted and at what point
it’s added. A little experimentation, and the fastest-growing wine style in SA
tasted the Diemersfontein Pinotage almost ten years ago – it was one of the
first wineries our friend took us to when we started our search for wines to stock
in The Nose. Apart from our house Sauvignon, I doubt whether we ever sold
another wine quite as popular as this one. We regularly used to get emails
throughout season from tourists who had visited The Nose and found “the most
fabulous wine which we totally loved and would really like to drink now that we
are back home in the UK/Sweden/Timbuktu.” And that was all they needed to say –
they didn’t need to tell me if it was red or white or even attempt to remember
the name – the only wine which ever inspired such loving fanaticism was the
no good thing can be left alone. Bertus left the farm and went to KWV – hello Café
Culture. From there he set up his own thing – Barista – and after that, a
coffee/chocolate explosion occurred. Nowadays there are a myriad different
versions of the Pinotage plus several other varieties such as a Malbec
(Mocholate from Vrede en Lust), Tinta Barocca (Tinta Chocolate from Boplaas)
and now even a dessert wine from De Krans called Expresso. It seems that
everyone wants some coffee with their wine.
Or do they?
Opinion about these coffee wines is divided between the wine fundis both here
and overseas. Some say that these are artificially-contrived flavours which
dumb down wine and devalue the whole wine sector. On the other hand, supporters
say that if people enjoy them, then at least they are drinking wine as opposed
to beer or spirits so that can only be good for the wine industry in the long
I am firmly
of the latter camp – in my view, people should drink the wines they enjoy and
if that means choc/coffs, then by all means choco-mocho-coffo it up all over
the place. The only problem for me is that I HATE coffee. Of all kinds. Coffee
sweets, coffee cakes, second-hand coffee (my husband always has to decide
whether he hopes to get lucky before he orders an espresso at the end of an
evening) – all of them are absolute anathema to me. It’s proving a bit
difficult for PR’s who want me to taste their new wines, but I know I’m going
to hate them before I even unscrew the cap.
Is the tide
turning for these styles of wines? I’d say no – witness the two new ones which
arrived on my doorstep last week – and I think we will see plenty more for the
next few years at least. Still – at least it’s a hardworking wine, well it is
as far as my husband is concerned anyway. After all, it’s not often you get
wine, dessert, coffee AND a foolproof contraceptive all in the same glass.
Clos Malverne Le Café Pinotage 2010 R85.90 from leading retailers
spritz on entry quickly gives way to rich mouthful of chocolate initially, then
coffee. Soft and juicy tannins, enough black fruit for balance and nice length.
That’s my note. My husband said “It’s really good, this stuff. What is it
again?” before moving into the spare room.
De Krans Espresso NV R55 for a half bottle from leading retailers
This is a
sort of port although all the press releases deny it, but it’s sweet, more
alcoholic than a normal wine and comes in a small bottle so seems to fit. Packs
a big coffee/chocolate punch but the sweetness is actually quite attractive.
Husband said “This would be nice poured over vanilla ice cream” and I slept
alone once more.
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