PINOTAGE (Pee-noh Tahj)
It may be a gamble with Pinotage but how many wines have been described as tasting like bananas?
Pinotage is a personal favourite but has a history of producing low quality wine where, at its worst, it can be far too high in acidity and tannins. But whilst, historically, there have been these far less desirable products coming out of South Africa, there have also been examples of this grape variety at its best, described as elegant, balanced, fully developed fruit flavours and long lasting in finish.
The outcome of flavour and aroma is, in part, affected by pruning. It has been shown that looser, wilder growing vines will produce a fruitier and fuller wine, while a strictly pruned vine will produce deeper, more austere flavours with a stronger acidic structure. In a more general sense, if Pinotage wine has good quality to it, it is described as more rustic, taking on earthy notes with smoky berries and an underlying flavour, often described as banana!
Zweigelt is like an up and coming, natural actor with depth and character. It can play an array of parts, it can perform consistently, it just doesn't have the business connections yet.
A relatively new grape variety, Zweigelt wines are light and fresh in character. Its colour is a violet-red and it gives off floral aromas of violets. It's lower acids and soft tannins allow its more subtle floral, spice, earth and mineral character to thrive. Most often the fruit aroma and flavour tones centre on cherry and raspberry. Its a wine with spice, sometimes cinnamon, sometimes pepper. Because of its low acid and tannin content, a Zweigelt wine does not age well and should be consumed when younger and fresh.
Zweigelt is popular on its own and in blends. It can usually be seen blended with St. Laurent, Blaufrankisch, Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot creating blends with depth and body, making Zweigelt less juicy and more complex.
Pinotage and Zweigelt wines are best enjoyed from a Riedel Syrah / Shiraz Glass.