I don’t know about everyone else, but I am not feeling any festive cheer this year. Zero. None. Fokol. I don’t know whether it is because I am working right up until the 23rd and I have done no Christmas shopping or if it is just because Christmas no longer holds the kind of magic that it did when I was seven years old. Nowdays it means the hassle of Christmas lunch, family drama and hoping to goodness that everyone likes the present you got them (there will inevitably be those that don’t). At any rate I am feeling grinchy with a capital G, and rather obtuse. So, while the Western Cape undergoes a heat wave, I am choosing to write about a red wine cultivar that is best enjoyed on a cooler day – Pinotage.
My Christmas gloominess aside, I am incredibly happy about one thing that has happened in recent weeks: I have found a wine that is so great, and so cheap, that you feel as if you are practically stealing it off the shelf. It is a wine that I have been meaning to try for ages and for some unknown reason, I haven’t. Then, the other evening, I spotted it in my little local Spar. I was making spaghetti bolognaise and I thought, why not a Pinotage? And so it happened that I bought a bottle of Barista Pinotage 2020. Despite the rave reviews I have read, I wasn’t initially blown away. In fact, I was a little disappointed. It costs R89, the label isn’t much to look at and it’s a screw top! But I figured it was the end of the month and I couldn’t afford any of my usual favourites, so a screw top Pinotage it would have to be.
Boy, I wasn’t disappointed. This is a unique wine. It is both bold and light. Smoky and sightly sweet. Medium bodied but with plenty of flavour. On the nose it gives notes of plum, blackberries and tobacco, on the palate it is an altogether different story. Smoky, with hints of oak and coffee, finished with a light touch of vanilla. If at first you are rebuffed by the boldness of this wine, swirl it around, give it a few minutes to air and try it again. I promise that it is easy drinking and incredibly light – you almost won’t notice the bottle emptying before you!
You can find the Barista Pinotage at any reputable liquor store or simply at your local Spar – you’ll thank me later.
Alcohol for over-18s only.