Pinotage, Neethlingshof Estate, Stellenbosch, South Africa

People who enjoy writing usually enjoy reading too. This way I found myself reading  ‘My weekly wine’, an awesome blog by Alison Sussex. She writes about wine as I do and it is due to her post provoking my curiosity that I decided to buy this wine. Thank you, Alison!

I don’t drink South African wine very often. This has nothing to do with quality but it’s much more about availability. The latter is also the reason why I took a bottle of Pinotage instead of Shiraz recommended by Alison, even though I hadn’t had very good experiences with the first variety.

On the bottle, the producer wrote ‘Offering robust cherry fruit and plummy flavours’ but fortunately this wine is much more than the omnipresent combination of cherry, red berries, chocolate and so on. This kind of boring description appears nowadays on every second red and very often has nothing to do with the real taste of the content. It seems to sell well. I have no other explanation.

Anyway, this is probably not the best Pinotage available in South Africa but still a very enjoyable wine, which elegantly accompanied my traditional Italian meal: chicken with marsala (pollo con la marsala), fried carrots (carote fritte) and fried fennel (fritto di finocchi). I wrote ‘traditional’ because all these simple recipes come from the celebrated cooking book by Pellegrino Artusi: ‘La Scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiar bene’ (first edition in 1891).

I liked this Pinotage because it reminded me of Slovenian reds from the Karst region. There was something mineral and vegetal too, not only cherries. The acidity was pleasant and decent enough to convince me that it must be about the terroir itself and not mistakes in the production process.

Taste is something personal and actively shaped. It has much to do with our experiences, memories, culture and life style. Pleasure often comes from placing a new experience into the complex systems of what we already know and love. We compare, complete and connect things. And so did I drinking the 2008 Neethlingshof’s Pinotage. I was thinking about all South Africa means to me. This red did his job very well 🙂

For Alison’s post about Neethingshof’s wine check:


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