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Weekly Weird & Wonderful Wines

Week 4 - Karikari Estate Pinotage 2008

Welcome to another week of weird but wonderful wines.
Up this week we have a quirky, bold style of red wine known as Pinotage that, while well recognised from it's homeland of South Africa, is seldom found elsewhere in the world.
In this edition we shall be studying a far flung planting of Pinotage, this time being grown in New Zealand.

Presenting this week's wine:

Karikari Estate Pinotage 2008

Karikari Estate Pinotage 2008

Karikari Estate Pinotage 2008

Category: Fish out of water

Wine makeup: 100% Pinotage

Origins: The grape Pinotage has it's origins in South Africa in 1925 when the scientist Abraham Perold bred a crossing of Pinot Noir and Cinsault (called Hermitage in South Africa at the time). The South African wine industry was languishing at the time and Perold was looking for a grape that was as popular as Pinot Noir but seeing as this variety has difficulties growing in the climate of South Africa, Perold decided to crossbreed it with the much more productive (and far easier to grow) Cinsault variety of Southern France. 

Region: Karikari Estate is found in the Northland region of New Zealand. This area is home to the northernmost vineyards in New Zealand and hosts a sub-tropical climate. Northland is known locally as the 'Winterless North' and suits warmth loving varieties with Syrah and Chardonnay doing well recently.
Northland was also the region home to New Zealand's first grapevine plantings in 1819.

Producer: Karikari Estate is New Zealand's northern-most vineyard and winery. 
From the winery your view looks out over the sparkling blue Pacific Ocean, stretching out to the horizon.

The tropical view from Karikari Estate out to the Pacific Ocean

The tropical view from Karikari Estate out to the Pacific Ocean


Pinotage is a curious variety, and again this is one of but a few to be found outside of South Africa, but if you taste this one, you'll realize why it grows so well alongside Syrah in the Northland region.
I have spent a lot of time alongside both Pinot Noir & Syrah, and the best South African examples evoke a classic middle ground between the two forces of elegance and power.

The example here from Karikari Estate is a bold, deep purple in colour even with several years of age. Aromatic complexity bringing a true bouquet of dark, sweet cherries and chocolate with a subtle floral fragrance.
While the nose is lifted and perfumed the body is grounded and powerful. Deep, strong mid-palate, with rotund tannic structure make for a wine that featured a natural depth, with becoming overwhelming.
The finish is well textured and lilting, and as the 2008 vintage is at it's peak now, so if you have any in the cellar or could track down a bottle, I'd say to find a cold night and some good meat and dig in.

To learn more about this Pinotage head over to Karikari Estate here.

To learn more about New Zealand's wine regions, check out my little overview here.

Thanks for reading, and join us again next week for more Weekly Weird & Wonderful Wines!