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Flat front label of wine
Flat front label of wine

Saxenburg Pinotage Private Collection 1998

Pinotage from South Africa
    0% ABV
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    Winemaker Notes

    The colour is young and ruby red with a concentrated plum character. The taste is full-bodied with soft tannins and well balanced fruit and a long finish.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Saxenburg

    Saxenburg Wine Farm

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    Saxenburg Wine Farm, South Africa
    Saxenburg dates back to 1693 when Governor Simon van der Stel granted the land to a free burger, Joachim Sax. In 1705 the farm became the property of Olaff and Albertus Berg, and the name Saxenburg developed from these early pioneers. Saxenburg then had a succession of owners, including Lord Charles Somerset and the De Villiers family.

    Saxenburg was acquired in 1989 by Adrian Bührer who, together with his wife Birgit and their young family, has revived the proud family tradition of Saxenburg’s historic past, ensuring that Saxenburg will continue to grow and develop in the future years.

    Situated on the hills above Kuilsriver between the two oceans, the vineyards enjoy ideal soil and climatic conditions and cool breezes from False Bay during the summer months. The winemaker and vineyard staff work closely with nature and share a sense of achievement when producing only the finest.

    Nico van der Merwe, Saxenburg’s wine-maker, became the South African Champion Winemaker of 1991, and his expertise and dedication assures the continued quality of Saxenburg wines. Nico feels that there must be real harmony between the grapes and the wine, and his control of the vineyard and wine cellar, combined with the sharing of his knowledge and skills with his staff, enables Saxenburg to produce wines of exceptional quality.

    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.

    Pinotage

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    A distinctively earthy and rustic variety, Pinotage is South Africa’s signature grape. In 1925 viticulturists crossed finicky Pinot Noir and productive, heat-tolerant Cinsault, and created, surprisingly, a variety both darker and more tannic than either of its parents. Pinotage at first seemed nearly impossible to tame, with its bold profile and wild flavors but advances in viticultural and winemaking techniques have since helped to make Pinotage wines quite alluring. 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.

    WWH364XPT2_1998 Item# 53351