2011 Oak Works Pinotage

A problematic reputation has appeared to dog Pinotage over the years, its high yields, burnt rubber and acetone flavours making generally unremarkable wines. I didn't know what to believe but it helped like most things, having an open mind. It's South Africa's signature variety, a Pinot Noir and Cinsault marriage back in 1925 designed to enhance the flavours of Pinot Noir with the yields of Cinsault. In terms of red varieties planted there, it is second only to Cabernet Sauvignon. 

The variety is still in its early days in Australia with only a few wineries, amongst them Oak Works in the Riverland Region producing anything while New Zealand has had a far longer relationship with it. Fourteen months in oak has added complexity to this mid-weight 2009 red.  

It is dark ruby, an almost purple colour in the glass.There are moderately intense flowery forest floor, earth and briary aromatics going on with hints of banana peel and gamey bacon.  

Rolling seamlessly over the palate were spicy plum fruit, pepper and cherry sauce flavours. These were underpinned by bold, structured smokey meat flavours and subtle tannins. A dry, texturally smooth and polished palate. Medium heat peaks mid-palate leading to what is a lingering sweet spice finish. Carries the heat fairly well otherwise.

This is a well-structured wine with bold Shiraz-type flavours that I found intriguing. It came out punching on the second night's drinking, boosting the score to the magic ninety. Well worth a try if you want an alternative to Shiraz. Very Good.

Source: Sample. ABV: 13.5%. Closure: Cork. Price: $20.00. Rating: 90 Points.

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