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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Stormhoek Pinotage 2005

Stormhoek PinotagePinotage is South Africa's signature grape, much as Malbec is Argentina's and Carmenère is becoming Chile's. But unlike those two refugees from Bordeaux, Pinotage is actually unique to South Africa, where it was bred in 1925 by crossing Pinot Noir and Cinsault.
The progeny from that crossing is quite distinctive, and bears little if any similarity to its parents. Pinotage is spicy, smoky and unusual, and may take a little getting used to.

The Stormhoek Pinotage 2005 is a good representative of its breed, and easy to get to know (and at just $10, afford). Smoke and tar permeate the nose when the bottle is first opened, but after a short decant it settles into spicebox with whiffs of bacon. On the palate are round, mouthfilling flavors of plum and moderate tannins, followed by a dry, lingering finish. This wine has lots of personality and is good by itself. It would be a perfect match for grilled food, too — where's the beef?
J. Silverheels Gray, 11:19 AM


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