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Clos Malverne Pinotage 1998

Pinotage from South Africa
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    Winemaker Notes

    VINIFICATION: The grapes are hand harvested at optimal ripeness, then destalked, crushed and fermented for 3 days on the skins in open fermenting tanks. The average fermentation temperature is 32 C. After fermentation the skins are pressed in traditional basket presses. The free run juice is then combined and malolactic fermentation takes place spontaneously in the tank. Thereafter the wine is racked and goes into 225l oak barrels (20% American and 80% French) for 4 months. After barrel maturation the wine is fined, filtered and bottled. TASTING NOTES: The wine has a dark plum colour. On the nose full ripe fruit with plums, berries, spices and wood flavours. A fruity wine with lingering fruit and a balanced tannin structure. Ready to drink now but can be aged for another 3 - 5 years

    Critical Acclaim

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    Clos Malverne

    Clos Malverne

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    Clos Malverne, South Africa
    Clos Malverne was purchased by the present owner, Seymour Pritchard in December 1969. The Estate is owned and managed by the Pritchard family, who are totally dedicated to producing the finest wines at all times. We are an exclusive, medium-sized, upmarket wine producer specializing in red wines made from noble cultivars only. The first commercial wines were made in 1988. The grapes used are Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz. 60% of Clos Malverne wines are either Pinotage or Pinotage blends. The winery is rated as one of the top 5 red wine producers in South Africa, offering wines that represent excellent value for money. Clos Malverne is especially proud of the many local and international awards it has won. The size of Clos Malverne is 29ha with a yield of 8 tons per ha producing 250 000 bottles of wine per year. The ground is deep Hutton Clavelly soil. Clos Malverne has a Mediteranean climate with winter rainfall. The farm is situated approximately 300m above sea level, 20km from the Indian ocean as well as 50km from Cape Town and the cold Atlantic ocean. The cool sea breezes create an average summer temperature of 20 C. The winemaker is I.P.Smit. The wines are made in open fermenting tanks in the traditional French way and the grapes are pressed in round basket presses. All Clos Malverne wines are given individual attention which contributes towards the ultimate quality of the end product.

    South Africa

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    With an important wine renaissance is 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.


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    A distinctively earthy and rustic 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 and while the grape has always had its antagonists, advances in viticultural and winemaking techniques have since helped to make Pinotage wines more attractive. Today it is a popular South African export both as a single varietal wine and in “Cape blends.” 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 dark fruits of plum and blackberry. The flavors are bold, and tannins are firm but ripe—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.

    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.

    CGM59279_1998 Item# 39487