2017 / $20 / 14.5%

Swartland, South Africa

I discovered Pinotage while on what the The Crusher so politely describes as another “failed online relationship.”  While the date did not go as well as hoped, I was extremely pleased to find out about South Africa’s signature grape.  I’d at least call that part a success!  Pinotage was created by combining the Hermitage and Pinot Noir grapes, resulting in what I found to be a lovely glass of wine.

With this newly discovered grape, I decided to go out and purchase a bottle to review.  That’s what brings us to Survivor.  I’m going to try my best to describe this wine, but I truly had difficulty putting my tasting experience to paper.  Not because I was too far in the cups but rather because this wine really is just completely different that other wines I’ve had before.  Something different… but fantastic.  During my tasting I kept trying to determine a wine to compare it to and couldn’t quite place it.  I finally landed on Grenache as the closest but there are so many wonderful differences that make the Pinotage grape special.

This wine is one of the darkest, most beautiful wines I’ve seen in the glass.  The color though, is misleading!  I was expecting this wine’s taste to be deep, full-bodied, but it wasn’t at all.  It was light with an almost crisp/aerated follow through.  While that description might be difficult to comprehend, it truly does have this characteristic and was quite lovely to experience.  This wine seemed so fresh, crisp and just asked to be consumed.

The flavor profile was something I’ve never experienced either, and I couldn’t be happier to have discovered this grape.  It’s not very fruity, it’s dry but not overbearing, and it’s bold but doesn’t give you that long follow through.  It works very well!  Readers should be warned that this is definitely a wine with a higher than average alcohol percentage, and it can be something you don’t really realize it until it’s too late.

Ideally this wine needs to be paired with a salty meal.  Don’t drink it without food.  I’d recommend you pair this wine with a heavy meal and allow it to cut through the grease and salt.  Definitely do not eat with a light meal.  This wine really has a different feel and texture to it.  And I highly recommend you purchase a bottle to experience it for yourself.  And at this price point, I’d say it’s a win win.

I’ll have to taste more Pinotage to see if these characteristics run through the grape or if it’s just this specific producer that throws out quality wines.  But I thoroughly look forward to finding that out!

Taste – 8

Smell – 7

Recommend – 10 (not easy to throw out a 10 but I really really recommend you taste this grape)

Price – 9

Complexity – 7

Overall – 41 out of 50


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