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Bellevue Estate Tumara Pinotage 2005

Pinotage from South Africa
    0% ABV
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    Currently Unavailable $16.29
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    4.0 2 Ratings
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    4.0 2 Ratings
    0% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    100% Pinotage, from the Bellevue Estate in Stellenbosch, the world's first commercial producer of Pinotage.

    Vanilla, coconut, plums, and raspberries on the nose, followed by layers of ripe, complex fruit on the palate. A big, well-balanced wine with a long, clean finish.

    Serve with duck, venison, Thai dishes, herb roasted chicken.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Bellevue Estate

    Bellevue Estate

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    Bellevue Estate, South Africa
    Tumara wines are produced at the Bellevue Estate, which released the world's first commercial Pinotage in 1953. Now, the over-50-year-old vines continue to produce award-winning Pinotage for fourth-generation Proprietor/Cellar Master Dirkie Morkel. Approximately 30 kilometers northeast of Cape Town, Bellevue has been located in the Bottelary hills - the perfect place to produce world-class red wines since 1701. The estate's plantings are comprised of 190 hectares featuring over 14 grape varieties, mostly red, and include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Pinotage, and Petit Verdot.

    Prof A.I. Perold, known as the father of Pinotage, completed the development of this South African grape at Elsenburg. He made a cross between Pinot Noir and Hermitage to obtain the ultimate success he was looking for. Prof Perold apparently left no notes to explain his choice of cultivars, but legend would have it that he was attempting to combine the quality of Pinot Noir and the production capacity of Hermitage.

    In the early 1950s, P.K. Morkel was attempting to obtain Gamay to add to the Bellevue vineyards. Unable to find any, he approached the Stellenbosch Agricultural College at Elsenburg for advice on possible alternative varieties to plant. The new variety developed by Prof Perold was suggested. At that stage Pinotage had only been planted on a trial basis by Elsenburg.

    In 1953, P.K. Morkel took the bold step, along with Paul Sauer of Kanonkop, to plant this unknown variety on his farm. His boldness paid off, when in 1959 his wine from this almost unknown variety, Pinotage, took the General Smuts trophy, for the best wine at the Cape Wine Show.

    South Africa

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    The South African wine renaissance is in full swing. Impressive red and white bargains abound. South Africa has a long and rich history considering its status as part of the “New World” of wine. 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, it is increasingly responsible for high-quality wines that are helping 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 the brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening. Similarly, cooler high-elevation vineyard sites offer climatic diversity.

    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 earthy, gamey 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 behind.


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    A distinctively earthy, rustic, and divisive variety, Pinotage is South Africa’s signature grape. A cross between finicky Pinot Noir and productive, heat-tolerant Cinsault, it was created in 1925 and surprised its inventors by being darker and more tannic than either of its parents. Pinotage at first seemed nearly impossible to tame, with its bold profile and wild flavors. While the grape has always had detractors, advances in viticultural and winemaking techniques have since helped to make Pinotage wines more palatable. Today it is a popular South African export both as a single varietal wine and in so-called “Cape blends,” in which Pinotage forms a significant proportion of a blend with other red varieties. It is grown very minimally outside of South Africa.

    In the Glass

    There is no mistaking the smell of Pinotage—common descriptors include tobacco, smoke, tar, bacon, licorice, hoisin sauce, and burnt rubber, in addition to more run-of-the-mill fruit like plum and blackberry. The flavors are bold, and tannins are firm but sweet—in fact, many Pinotage wines bear more resemblance to Australian Shiraz than to Pinot Noir.

    Perfect Pairings

    For a wine this powerful, food should be equally bold, and gets bonus points for mirroring Pinotage’s sweet and sour flavors. Classic smoky South African braai (barbecue) is the most obvious match, while grilled curry sausage, lamb biryani, or richly spiced beef stew would be equally welcome at the table.

    Sommelier 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. The somewhat less appealing “Herminoir” was also considered.

    HNYBEUPIE05C_2005 Item# 92166