I’m going to preface this review with the fact that this was one of the better balanced Pinotage’s I have tasted in recent memory. Found at Total Wine for around $26.00, the Spier 21 Gables Pinotage won’t disappoint those who enjoy Pinot Noir with a more robust character.
Spier is one of the oldest wine making estates in South Africa. They’ve been producing quality juice since 1692.
A little bit about the Pinotage grape…
Thanks to new and improved wine making techniques and the end of apartheid, the Pinotage grape variety, which is actually a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault has been thriving in South Africa. Stellenbosch in particular offers an ideal cool climate that lets Pinotage thrive given Pinot Noir’s love of cool weather and the ability to control the Cinsault side’s tendency to produce big yields.
Quality Pinotage, as you’ll soon discover, can appear inky in the glass, similar to a classic Syrah. In addition, it’s classically fruity and backed by noticeable earth and spice, though more medium in body.
Each facet of the wine making process for the Spier 21 Gables Pinotage was handled with the utmost care, and the product shows it. All grapes used in this particular wine were hand harvested in order to keep them in the best condition. After they were chilled, sorted and de-stemmed, inconsistently sized grapes, raisins and poor-colored grapes were discarded. According to Spier, these Pinotage grapes were cold soaked and then fermented in both stainless steel tanks and exposed French oak containers.
Spier’s winemaking practice gets more specialized at this point, where “loose juice,” as I like to call it, is isolated and drained into separate barrels and aged 18 months. Since this “free-run” juice tends to be less concentrated, less tannic and less bitter, aging it separately and then later using it alongside pressed juice allows for a more balanced and refined final product. This also makes the Spier 21 Gables 2013 Pinotage an ideal wine to age, through 2022.
Supporting Sustainable Practices
“Our mission is to minimise our impact on the environment. Spier is a Champion member of the Biodiversity & Wine Initiative (BWI), is organically certified and follows the Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) criteria. In 2011, Condé Nast Traveler World Saver Award recognised the farm as the top international destination ‘Doing it All’.
Spier’s environmental and social initiatives include ways to reduce water consumption. 100% of our wastewater and over 80% of our solid waste is recycled.”
Spier 21 Gables Pinotage Tasting Notes
In the glass, the wine appears robust just by appearance. A beautiful dark ruby core and deep magenta hue accents the edges. The nose is soft and supple, not overpowering in anyway but pleasant, floral and packed with delicate cassis, strawberry and light leather undertones.
This is a fuller-bodied Pinotage. The opening palate is gorgeous. Fruit basket with black cherry & blueberry smoothie, refined and velvety tannins and mocha-blackberry-mushroom start the palate out right. The middle softens up a bit and gives you taste buds a moment to process the blast of flavor you just experienced. Cold gravel minerals with ancient forest floor come together alongside ripe red berries and pomegranate. Toward the close, the wine elevates and balances out through a soft white chocolate tunnel, refreshing acidity and pomegranate punch with a medium-long finish.
Spier 21 Gables Pinotage Food Pairings
Immediately pork-based dishes come to mind when I sip on this wine. Consider these Honey-Orange Pork Tenderloins — the perfect amount of fruit and spice to accent your Spier 21 Gables Pinotage.
If pork isn’t your thing, I would explore other spicy and savory routes. Mexican and Indian dishes that incorporate savory flavors and spicy sauces will help make the flavor of this wine go further. You should probably try out this Pulled Chicken Burrito Recipe or this beyond delicious Chicken Tikka Masala.
Lastly, you can play around with Barbecue-smoked Brisket and sweet potato with dark chocolate for dessert.