So…en route to becoming a member of The Wine Century Club a few years ago, I researched 100 grapes and tried many wines. The entry level requirement is 100 grape varieties. There are higher levels as well. Here is a link to the club website: winecentury.com.
Please check out the poll found in my earlier post titled The Wine Century Club.
Here are some facts about the 2 wines (both are now on my favorites list) and a couple of grapes that were new to me.
2013 Colomé from Valle Calchaquí, Salta, Argentina… grape variety is Torrontés.
Torrontés has quickly risen to become Argentina’s signature white-wine grape, and one of the most widely grown. Torrontés wines range in style from light and fresh to heady and intensely perfumed, often expressing spicy character and aromas of white flowers. The cooler climate here helps with the retention of acidity, yielding a light, refreshing white wine with tones of jasmine and orange blossoms. The wine I tasted had a longer finish, good acidity and floral notes. It reminded me of a Viogner or a Gewürztraminer, both noted for floral a bouquet.
Salta, in the far north of Argentina, is home to some of the world’s most extreme vineyard sites. Many sit at lower latitudes and higher altitudes than anywhere else on Earth. Interestingly, these two factors balance each other out; the cold temperatures associated with high altitude are mitigated by the high temperatures found at these latitudes, producing bright, intensely flavored wines.
2011 Kanonkop ” Kadette” from Stellenbosch, South Africa… grapes varieties are Pinotage 57%, Cabernet Sauvignon 26 %, Merlot 14%, Cabernet Franc 3%.
Pinotage grape is a native product of South Africa, developed in 1925 by Abraham Izak Perold, the first professor of Viticulture at the University of Stellenbosch. Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and the more obscure Rhone varietal, Cinsault, was born in South Africa. The professor hoped to combine the virtues of the two grapes. Pinot Noir is recognized for its aromas and flavors, but can be difficult to grow. Cinsault yields an abundant crop and is resistant to disease. Pinotage typically produces deep red wines. Some have been criticized for sometimes smelling of acetone. The wine I tasted had no aroma of nail polish. Pinotage tends more toward dark fruits, tar, tobacco, and chocolate; sometimes touches of banana have been noted. The grape also tends toward high tannins and low acids.
Pinotage is easy to grow and ripens readily. Plantings didn’t really get started commercially until the 1960s, and, despite a few successes, acreage dwindle from then until the 90s and then the end of apartheid and end of international boycotts on South African products. Interest in South African wines was high, and Pinotage in particular as it was unique to the country.Kanonkop’s Pinotage vines were some of the first commercially planted Pinotage to be established in the Cape and most are over 50 years old. Hardly any irrigation is needed due to the ideal soil type and location.
Kanonkop is a fourth generation family estate, which was originally purchased by JW Sauer, a cabinet member in the parliament of the Union of South Africa. The name Kanonkop was derived from a kopje, something from which a cannon was fired in the 17th Century to alert farmers in outlying areas that sailing ships had entered Table Bay for a stopover at Cape Town.