Pinots and Pinotages for Winter
Yep – it’s cold! My eating habits have changed and my heating habits along with them – plenty of fires burning in my grate in the evening right now.
And of course, I’m working on the heating from the inside-out angle as well. Pinot Noir and Pinotage are both great with winter food – Pinot Noirs can be a bit lighter in style which make them good matches for winter chicken or fish dishes whilst Pinotages lap up the hearty robust flavours of lamb, beef or game. Try a few of these and see what you think.
Obikwa Pinotage2014 R30 from most major retailers
This got delivered along with a boerie roll for lunch but unfortunately I was swanning around in France eating foie gras and steak – tough life.
So I didn’t get to try the food match but suspect it was probably pretty much on point. As you can tell from this suggestion, this isn’t a serious wine – but then, nor is the price. It’s a ‘settle-down in front of the fire with a pizza, the cat and your loved one’ kind of wine – juicy, soft and uncomplicated.
Doran Pinotage 2013 R69 cellar door
I’m really enjoying the wines from this Voor-Paardeberg estate right now and this one is one of my favourites.
It’s a lighter-style of Pinotage so more like a Pinot Noir in character and the juicy red and black berried fruit are backed up with a pleasing savoury line which makes it a great food partner.
This is a wine which can work with poultry and fish but I enjoyed it with a charcuterie platter – the bright red berries and hints of smoke working perfectly with salamis and meats.
Neethlingshof Owl Post Pinotage 2013 R150 from specialist retailers
I must confess to a bit of a Harry Potter-like obsession with owls and would love to get one of those special owl boxes in my garden were it not for my extremely bloodthirsty cat.
This wine is bold and unabashed – the perfect match for a bird which seldom blinks nor gets stared out of countenance. It finished its fermentation in small oak barrels from both Hungary and France, giving it strident aromas and flavours of toasty oak and creamy vanilla all underpinned by ripe black cherries and plums.
Avontuur Minelli Pinot Noir 2011 R165 cellar door
Named after a racehorse – as are all the top tier of wines from Avontuur – this wine is a lovely choice for winter foods. It’s got a bit more age on it than most wines available right now which just means that the oak is softer and more integrated (some American oak in here, unusually) and the fruit has moved over into truffles, earth, sweet raspberries and tea leaves. Try it with roast duck or even a hearty winter fish stew or curry.
Shannon Rockview Ridge Pinot Noir 2013 R250 from specialist retailers
The debate is on as to whether it should be Hemel-en-Aarde or Elgin to become the Pinot-Kings of SA and I must say, this wine makes Elgin a serious contender for the title. The Downes family supply grapes for many of the region’s finest Pinots whilst – unsurprisingly – keeping the best for themselves.
Initial whiffs of smoke and tar give way to soft, ripe red fruit with hints of leather, earthiness and spice. If you can manage it, I’d say hanging onto this wine for another 3-5 years will make it even better.
L’Avenir Single Block Pinotage 2013 R300 cellar door
There’s a lot of Pinotage chutzpah about this French-owned property at the moment – they just opened a Pinotage Lounge as well as a Pinotage Deck in the vineyards.
This is from a particular block of vines which range in age from 15-30 years and which are all dry-farmed bushvines producing very low yields.
Such is the concentration of dusty, ripe, black fruit, they gave it 100% ageing in new French oak and the result is a spicy, chocolate-y, dense and chewy number perfect for a hearty game stew.