Wine of Origin Stellenbosch, South Africa; 13.0% ABV
imported by Maisons Marques & Domaines USA, Inc., Oakland, CA
$7 at the Richmond, CA, store on 22 May
I don’t recall previously tasting a South African Pinot Noir. However, I have liked the more savory, rusty earth flavors in other SA reds, and they seemed like they might be good in a Pinot, so…
At first pour, the wine seemed mildly promising: light, delicate, restrained, and acid, in a more “Old World” style. However, when it finally aired after about 2.5 hours in a decanter, I was not sure where to put it in the New / Old spectrum, and I was pretty impressed. The wine tasted of soft and ripe dark red cherry, lighter red tart cherry, orange / dried orange peel leading to earthy root beer, a tinge of nutmeg / cinnamon, and nice Pinot funk. With a little more air, some of the cherry darkens to black cherry and other black fruit. Unfortunately, fairly soon after fully airing, the last bit of the wine seemed like it started shutting down, indicating to me that this wine would be better with more age.
The saved screw-capped bottle of this wine was more immediately accessible, with similar flavors, although the fruit never fully came out the way it did the first night, at least during the 1 or maybe 2 hours I drank it. It was also more fully integrated and elegant. While it’s not the Bailiwick Pinots (c’mon, what is?), I think this is very nice and interesting Pinot for the money. It’s fine to drink now with enough air, or the next day, but would probably benefit from 2 or 3 more years of age. I’ll probably get a few more bottles to do just that.