Tag Archives: Pinotage

Return of the Wine Diary-Chilensis, J Opi, Baron D’Arignac, Il Papavero

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This week I am returning to the Wine Diary of 2011. With all the new wines and related experiences as of late I find it difficult to go back and re-review last years selections. Yes, all 138 wines, go figure. For those of you who have not read my earlier Diary posts or need a recap, here you go:

https://whineandcheersforwine.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/is-my-wine-glass-half-empty-or-half-full-the-return-of-the-wine-diary/

Having gotten the bad ones out-of-the-way and not being a fan of negative energy I am ready to stress the positive with the category of SURPRISES. As the title implies, we did not know much or expect much from these wines but they quickly got our attention. Other categories will follow in future postings.

Surprises [4]:

The first on our list [in no particular order] is a Cinsault varietal from Languedoc Roussillon, France: 2009 Baron D’ Arignac Vin de Pays D’Oc.  I must admit that this choice was completely made on price.  It had me at $6.99 on sale as I walked through the isles of our local Whole Food Market. We found it to be very good fresh out of the bottle with no decanting needed. I actually noted GREAT SURPRISE! in my notes probably thinking it would be swill because of the price. Interestingly I have learned the following about this varietal; it is regularly used in Chateauneuf-du-Pape and in 1925 it was crossed with Pinot Noir by Stellenbosch University Professor A.I. Perold in trying to create a unique South African varietal, which became PinotageCharacteristics of the grape: low tannins, dark, spicy, slightly perfumey.

Next we’re off to Chile with what I originally noted as a “Chilean Surprise”.  The 2009 Chilensis Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon, found at Total Wine and More for $9.99. Again I was most likely drawn to this choice by the fact that it was a RESERVA priced at $9.99. I am starting to see a $$ trend in the SURPRISE group having to do with price to taste ratio….My research shows that this corporate winemaker sources wines from different regions in Chile and markets them to the US. Chilensis wines are certified organic and sustainable. I noted; strong dark fruit on the nose and palate along with black pepper and spices.

On to Italy thanks to the Wall Street Journal Wine Club: Il Papavero Primitivo 2009. This Primitivo [which is the same as our Zinfandel] is one of winemaker Scipione Giuliani’s passions. The grapes come from 50-year-old vines in Puglia in southern Italy. This is one of my favorite selections provided to me through the WSJ Wine Club.  Priced at $13.99, this wine could easily be on my personal house wine list. For this rich, heavy red I detected; dark fruits such as raisins and plums, some oak and even what I would describe as cocoa.

Last but not least and thanks again to the WSJ Wine Club we arrive in Argentina for the 2009 J Opi Malbec; whose wine maker Rodolfo Sadler aka Opi won the Argentinean Red Trophy at the 2009 Decanter World Wine Awards.  At $13.99 this wine is a very good value. Again, the taste to price ratio. Priced at $7.99 as a special when I got it; it is an incredible value and I should have purchased a case! This wine was full bodied, fruity [dark], with a bit of spice and a great rich color. It was a perfect match for our spaghetti and meatball dinner. Albeit not so much with our dessert of Goobers 🙂  I would describe it as very drinkable.

Until the next chapter of my Wine Diary returns; SALUD!

My first time….warm and cozy with Drakenskloof 2009 Reserve Pinotage

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Drakenskloof

RESERVE PINOTAGE 2009 DRAKENSKLOOF SOUTH AFRICA

My first time with Pinotage, South Africa’s signature grape. I think I discovered a favorite varietal to add to the list. Better yet my first favorable discovery of 2012! This cross between French grapes Cinsault and Pinot Noir may be the perfect solution to those who may find todays popular Zinfandel too much of a sweet fruit bomb.  Its reserved power is impressive.

I think this wine had me at decanting….Is it possible a wine can make you feel warm and cozy? In 80 degree weather? A little bizarre I realize but that was my first reaction and note on this wine as I decanted and took in the aromas. “Warm and cozy” not fruit, oak, terroir, acidity but comfort. Never having had a Pinotage before this can almost only be described as attraction at first sight. I was not attracted to the bottle or the label   The name was somewhat exotic, its newness drew me but what was inside had me at first sniff.

Attained through the Wall Street Journals Wine Club but available through other sources on-line, this wine retails for $16.99.  Deep dark garnet red, light in viscosity,  dark fruit and the distant scent of wood move forward at decanting. This wine has incredible legs that just dangle artfully on your glass.  At 30+ minutes post decanting the taste and nose expands to become more peppery and woody with tobacco, leather, plum and yes, even ripening banana on the palate.

I am looking forward to the continuation of this relationship. Hopefully my future experiences with Pinotage will be as exciting as my first. As my wine loving friend of almost 30 years just happened to mention to me “it’s the romantic and passionate side of wine tasting that is the most important part”. Like a good friendship; this is one varietal I look forward to revisiting over and over.

SALUD!