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Southern Right Pinotage 2007

Pinotage from South Africa
  • WS90
0% ABV
  • JD90
  • RP90
  • RP92
  • WE91
  • WS90
  • RP91
  • WS90
  • W&S90
  • WE90
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3.1 7 Ratings
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3.1 7 Ratings
0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Southern Right is re-defining Pinotage with this intense classically styled, clay-grown wine, packed with complex berry fruit, beautiful tannins and subtle wood spice. Full ripeness and the longer hang-time afforded by cooler sites, combined with the complex, more classic fruit aromas and structure resulting from clay-rich soil, make this wine a highly individual expression of South Africa's unique grape variety.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 90
Wine Spectator
Smoky and fleshy, but with good aromatics and vibrancy to the black currant, fig, roasted sage and bramble notes. A nice minerally spine lingers through the finish. Drink now through 2010.
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Southern Right

Southern Right

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Southern Right, South Africa
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In 1994, Anthony Hamilton-Russell founded Southern Right Cellars as a Pinotage specialist, convinced that Pinotage has the intrinsic qualities to produce truly world-class wine with a distinct South African expression and typicity. As an early ripening grape, it is Anthony’s belief that Pinotage will perform best in cooler, maritime areas, where a longer, slower ripening season will afford fully developed tannins and a greater fruit complexity.

In partnership with winemaker Kevin Grant, the team initiated plantings on four carefully chosen, clay rich sites in the cool, maritime Walker bay appellation. Following in-depth soil research on Hamilton-Russell vineyards, Anthony and Kevin were able to discern that the most site-expressive and complex wines will be produced off of the stony, clay-rich Bokkeveld shale soils in the area. In 1998, a 113 hectare farm in the beautiful Hemel-en-Aarde Valley near Hermanus, was purchased as a central home for the Southern Right Cellar.

The first Southern Right Pinotage and Sauvignon Blanc were released in 1995. As an early ripening grape, it is Anthony’s belief that Pinotage will perform best in cooler, maritime areas, where a longer, slower With each bottle of Southern Right wine sold, Southern Right Cellars makes a contribution to Southern Right whale conservation in the Walker Bay.

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.

Pinotage

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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.

PIN85140_2007 Item# 98888