Along with the small plot of Pinotage, Leonardslee have also planted the classic Champagne varieties – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier – reflecting their intent to produce a quality English sparkling wine to join the growing number of excellent examples popping up across the country. And, if the still Pinotage doesn’t quite cut the mustard, Johann has suggested a potential incorporation of the grape into a sparkler to create “a unique English sparkling that’s got a South African twist to it”. We’d be lying if we said we weren't hoping they'll experiment with this anyway!
A slight disclaimer is perhaps necessary: the vines have only just been planted so the first harvest isn’t due until 2020, with the aim of a first release in 2023. If you can’t wait that long, why not get up to speed with this underrated grape by trying a couple of South African examples:
Fairview’s barrel-aged Pinotage is a classic example, with rich plum fruits and a hint of vanilla spice from the French and American oak it matures in, which makes it a great barbecue wine.
RRP £9.49 (2017 Vintage) from Waitrose
For those of you wanting to experience a little more complexity, Carmen Stevens has whipped up a cracker in her Catoria Coastal Pinotage 2016.
RRP £19.99 (£12.99 for Angels) from Naked Wines
If you really want to experience all that this grape has to offer before the first few English bottles are ready, why not venture to Cape Town for a luxury food and wine tour? You can thank me later.