100% Pinotage from Breedekloof, Breede River Valley, Western Cape, South Africa.
SRP of $18 and available for as low as $13. Sample submitted for review.
From the bottle:
“Before the advent of bridges, a safe river crossing, usually a shallow point (a “drift”), was essential to both man and beast, including the prides of lions that crossed the rivers of the Western Cape in search of prey. Since those days, the Cape Winelands, as this area is more commonly known among wine lovers of the world, has continued to produce wines of outstanding quality. Comprising numerous valleys and riverbeds, the Cape Winelands offers an exceptional terroir, with an array of mesoclimates that produces great complexity in wines. Today lions no longer traverse the valleys, or cross the drifts. But this classic wine celebrates the time when lions roamed freely in the Western Cape.
Pinotage, a grape created in South Africa as a cross between Pinot Noir and Hermitage (Cinsault) in the early 1900s, is what I would call an under appreciated variety. What really should be the signature grape of South Africa has been relegated to a blending agent, and pigeonholed by many as an “acquired taste” in single varietal bottlings. Today’s wine is a great example of the type of wine Pinotage can produce when it is taken seriously.
Silkbush Mountain Vineyards went all out to create this 100% Pinotage. From the combination of two types of French oak and specially coopered American oak from my neck of the woods, this is a wine built to age:
A third element of the blend came from specially coopered Minnesota and Wisconsin American oak hogsheads (300 Liter) casks. These provided some mid-palate sweetness and generosity, with savory touches of fennel and toasted almond, a rare complex of flavors unique to these Northern forests.
Of course, all this is for naught if the wine doesn’t taste good, so let’s get on with it, shall we?
The 2009 Lion’s Drift Pinotage begins with aromas of black currant, plum and spice along with hints of tobacco and vanilla. The wine tastes really delicious. There’s lots of toasty oak, but it’s not overwhelming and adds beautifully to the flavor profile that includes lots of dark fruit, vanilla, layers of tasty spice and slightly dusty tannins. This medium to full-bodied wine also features very good acidity and a nice, smooth mouthfeel. It ends with good length and more pleasant spicy notes. Bring on the Pinotage!
See a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.
Overall Rating: 7.5
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