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Two simply perfect pinotages

2018 Beeslaar, Pinotage, Stellenbosch, South Africa 

£38, The Wine Society, 01438-741177, thewinesociety.com

Abrie Beeslaar made this magnificent wine from 25-year-old bush vines, and it was fermented in concrete tanks with regular punch-downs to gain as much extraction from the powerful pinotage skins as possible. It was then aged for 21 months in 40% new French oak barriques. There is nothing particularly unusual about this recipe, so why is this the most attractive pinotage I have ever tasted?  It is extraordinarily expressive with silky black fruit and a hugely decadent mid-palate that runs on for minutes and then segues into a stunning, savoury, spicy, earthy finish. There is no pelt, burning rubber or pox of any kind – it is clean, fresh and structured and has more layers than a millefeuille.  

All too often, South Africa’s most important local grape has a certain sort of funkiness which turns me off completely. Beeslaar has nothing but pristine, gloriously appointed, velvety fruit – it is shaped like a super Tuscan, built like a Cape(d) crusader and I know everyone who feels like me about this tricky grape will go nuts about this wine. Well done, Abrie – you are a veritable magician. 

If you would like to dip your toe into the pinotage grape at a lower price point, may I direct you to the  2020 Radford Dale, Vinum Pinotage (£11.50, The Wine Society) – another squeaky-clean red with exquisite, deep, dark fruit and lashings of cocoa. Jo Locke MW, The Wine Society’s South African buyer, has done the impossible and found not one but two perfect pinotages this year!This the most attractive pinotage I have ever tasted, – clean, fresh and structured and with more layers than a millefeuille.

Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (matthewjukes.com)


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