OMGD South Africa Pinotage Tasting
Knysna, December 6, 2015
Échanson George Parkes maintains the tradition of holding a tasting in his wine cellar

With the end of the year nearing it was time once again for Échanson George Parkes to maintain the tradition of holding a tasting in his wine cellar at his home (the underground room seats only 8).

This year the chosen theme was “Pinotage”.

Besides George as host, present were Bailli Délégué Francois Ferreira; Denise Lindley (joint owner with François of Eden Academy Chef Training), Professionnel du Vin; Jan Johnson, Bailli Honoraire of Cape Town; Dr Paul Kruger, Chevalier; Annette Kruger, Dame de la Chaine; Bailli Honaraire Niel Els; and me, Peter Bishop –“PeeBee” – who, with George, donated the wines and presented the tasting.

It was tough determining which wines to leave out. I take full responsibility for not including the two Kanonkop wines – the Kanonkop Pinotage 2012 (with which Abrie Beeslaar won “Best Winemaker” at the London International Show) and the truly brilliant Kanonkop ‘Black Label’ Pinotage.

The 16 wines were presented in four flights of four. [Ed. Unfortunately space does not permit us to include the detailed comments, but I am sure George would be happy to share them with you if you ask him]. Foods prepared by Bailli Délégué Francois Ferreira were presented by him with each flight.

The elusive ‘cutting edge’ in Pinotage is the world-class Black Label Kanonkop Pinotage at 1453 Rand (less than $100 at the current exchange rate!). We really should have included it!

However, it is still difficult to call a young Pinotage – no matter how hugely they are made – as ‘cutting edge’ though there are more and more producers aiming there. Beyers Truter made a phenomenal Pinotage for the 2015 Cape Winemakers’ Guild. Now that is ‘cutting edge’.

Those lucky to have tasted young wines from the early Seventies would have known how ‘huge’ they were. Released after only 4 years and then aged another four years, the art for the consumer was to know how to knock it into shape – like putting the bottle in the sun, then the fridge, then the sun and then decanting several times. One only correctly assesses after 7 to 10 years but then the wines are sold out. Thus we live on tricks of the trade and trust!

In 2016 on the first Sunday in December, George intends to host a ‘white blend’ tasting – the most popular style right now in the Cape.

Article prepared from the detailed commentary submitted by Peter Bishop of PeeBee's Wine Column