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Local pinotages get high scores

Local wines have shown their talent in the inaugural #BestValue tastings held recently. The top five wines from the inaugural Best Value Chardonnay Tastings 2019 as well as the Best Value Pinotage have been announced and four local wines are among them, with Slanghoek Cellar featured in both.

The top five #BestValue pinotage wines at this price point are Fat Bastard Chardonnay 2018 (Robertson), Slanghoek Private Selection Chardonnay 2019, Cape Town Wine Co Chardonnay 2018, De Krans Wild Ferment Unwooded Chardonnay 2018 and Laibach The Ladybird (Woolworths) 2018.

The top five #BestValue pinotages are Bader & Walters Pinotage 2016, Bloemendal Waterlily Pinotage 2016, Lammershoek The Innocent Pinotage 2017, Bonnievale River Collection Pinotage 2018 and Slanghoek Private Selection Pinotage 2017.

Seeking to find the best examples of chardonnay between the R60 and R100 price points, the wines were tasted blind by three judges, Joanne Gibson, Ndaba Dube and Jeanri-Tine van Zyl, with scoring done on a 100-point system.

The pinotage submissions were across a fairly broad spectrum stylistically, from “lean and fresh” to “rich and full bodied”. Those that excelled displayed varietal typicality with focused citrus or stone fruit purity as well as well-handled oak treatment, where applicable.

Altogether 50% of the pinotages received scores of 86 and above, proving there is fantastic quality available within this price range. Hardly surprisingly, as it turned out, were two shining examples from the Breede Valley (one from the limestone soils of Robertson, which boasts the Cape’s biggest plantings of chardonnay, and one from Slanghoek in the Breedekloof). But then, as if to illustrate how well chardonnay adapts to different growing conditions. We also had wines from the Wine of Origin “extremes” of cool Cape Town and Calitzdorp in the semi-arid Klein Karoo.

Among the pinotages, two distinct styles emerged: classically styled pinotage – flavours of black cherry, plum and blackcurrant on a medium to full-bodied palate – with a judicious use of oak. The wines that impressed had a degree of finesse and polish while the less successful veered to the rustic side.

There were also wines that had a whole bunch, carbonic character with plenty of red fruits in the flavour profiles. Easy drinking, juicy wines stood out for their freshness. Two of the top wines came out of the Breede River area, a region that is proving synonymous with price point-related quality. – Christian Eedes/WineMag

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