Beaumont Pinotage 2017
Jayne had always made small quantities of wine and therefore the decision to start a wine farm and business was in fact out of necessity – they needed a home to cultivate both passion and grapes. Their journey continued as they embarked upon the craft of making wine on the then Compagnes Drift Farm, since renamed Beaumont. The farm was completely transformed by hard work, a spirit for adventure and a proper dose of crazy. The decision to make wine under the family name was life-changing and represented an unconditional commitment to every bottle produced.
Since then, Jayne has cultivated vineyards, crafted wines and art and pursued bee farming. Her three children, Sebastian, Ariane and Lucien, were all born and raised on the farm and so, during any visit to the cellar lunches, tastings, tractor tours and farm hikes, the stories that unfold are rich, funny, and beautiful. These stories form the foundations of the many traditions that have naturally occurred during the years that followed.
Jayne continues to produce a limited amount of Pinot Noir with her own hand-drawn labels.
With an important wine renaissance in full swing, impressive red and white bargains abound in South Africa. The country has a particularly long and rich history with winemaking, especially considering its status as part of the “New World.” In the mid-17th century, the lusciously sweet dessert wines of Constantia were highly prized by the European aristocracy. Since then, the South African wine industry has experienced some setbacks due to the phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s and political difficulties throughout the following century.
Today, however, South Africa is increasingly responsible for high-demand, high-quality wines—a blessing to put the country back on the international wine map. Wine production is mainly situated around Cape Town, where the climate is generally warm to hot. But the Benguela Current from Antarctica provides brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening of grapes. Similarly, cooler, high-elevation vineyard sites throughout South Africa offer similar, favorable growing conditions.
South Africa’s wine zones are divided into region, then smaller districts and finally wards, but the country’s wine styles are differentiated more by grape variety than by region. Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, is the country’s “signature” grape, responsible for red-fruit-driven, spicy, earthy reds. When Pinotage is blended with other red varieties, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Pinot Noir (all commonly vinified alone as well), it is often labeled as a “Cape Blend.” Chenin Blanc (locally known as “Steen”) dominates white wine production, with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc following close behind.
South Africa’s signature grape, Pinotage is a distinctively earthy and rustic variety. In 1924 viticulturists crossed finicky Pinot Noir and productive, heat-tolerant Cinsault, and created a variety both darker and bolder than either of its parents! Today it is popular in South Africa both as a single varietal wine and in Cape blends. Somm Secret—The name “Pinotage” is a subtle portmanteau. The Pinot part is obvious, but the second half is a bit confusing. In the early 1900s, Cinsault was known in South Africa as “Hermitage”—hence Pinotage.