Pinot Noir is a fussy grape. It gets pretty much any disease going, takes its time to ripen, insists on only the finest sites and even when you give it the very best, it can turn around and produce crap wine. They call it the ‘Heartbreak grape’ but people keep trying and trying because when you do make it well, it’s simply wonderful.
All this means that Pinot is generally quite an expensive wine to buy. Normally around the R300-mark, I have recently received several nearer R100/150 which is fantastic for people wanting to see what all the fuss is about without spending a fortune.
Van Loveren ‘Blue Velvet’ Pinot Noir 2013 R47 cellar door
Ah – you can’t beat VL and when it comes to value, you can bet your life you’re going to get something good. It’s a fruit-bomb mouthful with quiet, supportive tannins and acidity. Lots of bang here for your very few bucks.
Seven Springs Pinot Noir 2012 R114 cellar door
This looks a bit like a rosé to be truthful, and then you try it and it’s the perfect funky, berry, cherry, leathery mouthful you’d expect a Pinot to be. Light tannins and body make it perfect summer quaffing.
Antipodean Pinot Noir 2012 R120 (approximately) from Wine Concepts
This is made by Aussie Mick Craven who is part of the winemaking team at Mulderbosch. He and his wife (also a winemaker at Dornier) are making small batches of wine from interesting and unusual single vineyard sites. This one is a heady, perfumed little number with dark-berried fruit, savoury finish.
Avontuur Minelli Pinot Noir Reserve 2010 R159 cellar door
Minelli is one of Avontuur’s most prolific mares and I quite like the idea of naming Pinot after horses – the wines have the same elegance and raciness as well as lovely truffley notes. This is quite a full-bodied example with lots of berry fruit – great with a duck kebab.
Muratie George Paul Canitz Pinot Noir 2011 R165 cellar door
This is named after the former owner of the farm who was the first person to grow the variety in the country so it is very apt that he is still celebrated with this smooth, velvety wine. Elegant enough to handle a tuna steak and robust enough to take on some lip-smacking ribs and chops.
Boschendal Appellation Series Elgin Pinot Noir 2012 R195 cellar door
This is a new venture for this Franschhoek estate and winemaker Lizelle Gerber has added lots of complexity in several different ways. The result is a very fine first attempt at a pinot – creamy, smoky red berries with hints of Earl Grey tea.