This week’s second Pinotage, a 2007 Spice Route Pinotage, hails from the Swartland area of the country’s West Coast winemaking region. The grapes are dry-farmed (meaning no irrigation is used), which stresses the vines into producing fewer berries but encourages greater concentration of flavors.
The strategy pays off well here, creating a wine full of spice and dark berries along with some subtle oak and a tinge of leather. Unlike the Diemersfontein Pinotage, this wine doesn’t hit you over the head with the standard Pinotage aroma and flavor of overripe bananas (a fact that did not go unnoticed by J, who pretty much hated the Diemersfontein), and there’s a really nice balance between the tannic structure and the juicy fruit.
J and I drank this wine with a mustard-rubbed rib eye steak, some grill-roasted shallots, and asparagus. The sweet, slightly caramelized yet still spicy shallots, together with tang of the mustard and the juicy umami of the steak were an excellent counterpoint to the juicy fruit and spice in the wine. Not a perfect pairing (especially with the asparagus, which threw things off a bit for me), but pretty delicious nonetheless.
If you’d like to give the 2007 Spice Route Pinotage a shot yourself, you can find it at wine.com for $19.99/bottle.
3.5 corks popped!