A devoted oenophile at my core, I enjoy all wines equally, for what they are. But, I do hold a special place for South Africa’s signature Pinotage in my indulgent heart. I recently sat down and had a virtual coffee with a bottle of Barista Wine Pinotage 2020, a celebration of the diversity and deep character of this varietal.
A good bottle of Pinotage holds the power to uplift not only a meal, but also a mood. Starting out as a humble cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, one can tell a premium Pinotage apart from all its other red counterparts.
I particularly enjoy a Pinotage with food. With it’s typical smokey, deep red fruit and earthy notes, it’s a game changer when served with a meal, and suited to almost all generous dishes. I always have a few bottles in my racks, for those indecisive evenings where only the warmth of a Pinotage could cheer.
The latest and fast growing trend in Pinotage production, is the careful and deliberate making of a coffee-style Pinotage. Started by Bertus Fourie and then widely copied throughout the country, it seems as if the robust combination of coffee and red wine flavours left most consumers’ palates in overdrive.
My first meeting with this complex and deeply aromatic style of Pinotage was at Rooiberg Winery just outside of Robertson, and I’ve been searching for just the right bottle ever since.
I was endlessly curious when a sleek, smooth and timelessly classic bottle of Barista Wine’s Pinotage 2020 landed on my doorstep a few weeks ago. Could it be? A coffee Pinotage straight from the hands of the maker himself? Realising the treasure I was holding, I could simply not be any more excited to experience the magic that Bertus Fourie added into our favourite red.
“Think of chocolate coated espresso coffee beans with candied cherries and butterscotch. Does this sound delicious? It is indeed. There’s so much to love about the Barista Pinotage. Have a taste and see for yourself.”
These are the words of winemaker legend, Bertus Fourie, who earned himself a place in SA’s wine hall of fame and the nickname ‘Starbucks’ for his creation of the now iconic Coffee Style Pinotage in South Africa.
In 2009, he launched Barista Pinotage (“my best coffee-pinotage to date”), in conjunction with Vinimark The Wine Company, South Africa’s largest independent wine wholesaler. With its extraordinary aromas and flavours, approachability, exceptional smoothness and seamless integration of wood and fruit, Barista Pinotage is also and became immensely popular both locally and internationally. It is also extremely food friendly and very well-priced (press release).
Barista Pinotage 2020
The term Barista (of Italian origin) refers to people who are skilled in the fine art of making espresso-based coffees, so naming this unique Coffee Pinotage ‘Barista’ was most appropriate, paying homage to the exquisite coffee flavours of the wine.
Tasting notes: A burst of intense, rich espresso coffee and creamy chocolate aromas with nuances of ripe mulberries, plums and Maraschino cherries follow through onto the palate which is silky smooth, soft and luscious and enhanced with gorgeous notes of vanilla and butterscotch from the toasty oak ageing.
In the vineyard: 100% Pinotage
In the cellar: 100% new French oak
Cellar door price: approx. R95 per bottle
Pizza and Pinotage
The pairing was easy and without effort. I decided to couple the Barista Pinotage with something made by another team of skilled people, who have perfected the craft of pizza-making. A gorgeously simple Margherita pizza from Massimo’s in Hout Bay, topped with a handful of fresh herbs from my garden.
Against the relatively neutral base of the pizza, and with the omission of any hearty meat toppings, the Barista has a chance to shine in all its coffee glory. The Cinsault parent indulges in mediterranean flavours, such as the fresh, dark green herbs, baked pastas and pizzas, where the Pinot Noir parent balances out the acidity of the tomato base, and uses the silkiness of the mozzarella to display its bruised red fruit flavours.
The now comforting hum of coffee settles beautifully in the background of the palate, a gorgeous reminder of the complexity of this wine.
We finished the bottle on its own, long after the meal was done. I mean, who needs after-dinner coffee, when this bottle begs to be enjoyed instead?
A stunning interpretation of a proudly South African product. The amount of care, hard work and love (not to mention time!) that has gone into producing the Barista Pinotage is evident in every sip, Thank you, Barista Wines, for expertly crafting this deliciously exciting new addition to the Pinotage portfolio!
Disclaimer: I was given this product(s) as part of a press drop in exchange for my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated / credited, are also my own.
The Little Hedonist endorses responsible drinking.
Don’t drink and drive. Not for persons under 18.