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February 26, 2006

Stormhoek 05 Pinotage anti- Release?

Well, this post may prove to be a bit unpopular (for a change) around the winery, but we’ve got a blog and while we are not immune to spinning a yarn or two, transparency is high on our list. So, here goes.

Who said that just because I'm in the biz, I have to like all wines? I have always had a big problem with pinotage

It’s not that there is anything particularly odious about Pinotage. It is considered the one varietal that is unique to South Africa. It was developed as a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault around 1925. That’s all good. The problem is simply that nearly all pinotage I've had has this sort of green unripe flavor that is then overlaid with an earthy dirtiness that really makes the whole combination pretty diabolical. Really horrendous. What makes it all even stranger, is that there is a not so small group of winemakers in SA that actually like the stuff.

So when David Taub, CEO of our US Importer, said to me “You gotta make us some world class Pinotage”, I though, well, there is an oxymoron, if I ever heard one. But, being from the school of “the customer is always right”, I headed down to the winery to take it up with Graham.

We took the approach that we knew what we didn’t want: All that green, earthy stomach-turning yuckinesss. What we did want was colour, rich fruit (which does appear in really ripe pinotage) a bit of oak... something that would stand up to the test of “special sauce” on a burger.

Making wine is sometimes like making sausages, (whoops, maybe I wasn’t supposed to say that), but after a lot of debate, blending, paradigm shifting and trials, we came up with a wine that is making me reconsider my position on Pinotage: Dark, rich, intensely fruity, layers of really nice oak. Almost a reinterpretation of really nice, dense Australian shiraz.

So, last week, I had the pleasure of unveiling the new 05 Pinotage to Mr. Taub. After a swirl and a sip, he pronounced, to my great satisfaction, that we have a 'winner'.

Unfortunately for our friends elswhere, it’s only available in the USA. Sorry, we’re trying to make a bit more this year.

Posted by Jason at February 26, 2006 12:06 PM

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Delighted to hear that we'll get a great Pinotage. It is very difficult to find a good one here in the US, and the last one I cellared actually I actually bought in France.

Posted by: Jeff Clavier at February 26, 2006 8:15 PM

I am trying to get a few bottles of the Stormhoek '05 here in the US from your importer, do you think they have any left? I sent them an email but never heard back. I am planting 100 Pinotage vines in North Carolina next month, any advice on what these grapes really like to do well?

Posted by: Brent Kleinheksel at March 16, 2006 12:35 AM

"...Jason wants Stormhoek to be the wine for the rest of us..." hummm, sounds like Apple. Hope you can deal with the insanely loyal customer base, 10% of the global market, and growing.

Posted by: Dave at July 20, 2006 9:27 PM

Yes, Dave, that would be very nice!

Posted by: JAson at July 20, 2006 11:29 PM

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