The Winters Drift Pinot Noir from the cool-climate Elgin valley is showing itself to be a ‘wine of note’, being the recipient of several recent prestigious accolades.
The Winters DriftPinot Noir 2013, the second vintage but the first commercially available vintage from this up and coming Elgin producer, was awarded a Double Gold at the 2014 Michelangelo International Wine& Spirits Awards. This accolade followed hot on the heels of the Winters Drift Pinot Noir 2013’s recent Top Six award from Classic Wine in their Niche Reds Tasting published in the July issue.
2014 Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards:
Now in its 18th year, the Michelangelo is the only wine competition in South Africa with an exclusive international panel of accredited wine judges, international wine makers, wine masters and international sommeliers. This year 18 wine and spirits specialists from 15 countries judged the all-time record number of 1730 entries from 322 producers.
Classic Wine Niche Reds Tasting:
At the Classic Wine Niche Reds Tasting, 100 wines of varying age and cultivar, including Pinot Noirs, were assessed by the tasting panel. The Pinot Noirs showed very well with three Pinots featuring in the Top Six, interestingly all from Elgin “which seems to be proving an excellent location for this variety”, commented panel chair, Carrie Adams.
The panel’s comments on the Winters Drift Pinot Noir 2013 were as follows:“Wow! Generous cherry fruit fringed by subtle oak – very different to the other two Elgin Pinot Noirs in the Top Six. It is younger with more of a devil-may-care attitude; slightly funky but fun and delicious. The best part was the hugely refined, ripe tannin which makes for a wine that sticks its head out above the crowd. R120 for a bottle of incredibly well made, new age Pinot Noir from South Africa – you can’t go wrong.”
Winters Drift Pinot Noir 2013
Tasting notes: This wine delivers everything you expect from a young Pinot Noir, including an abundance of red cherries, varietal spice, truffles, forest floor notes and subtle oaking from 11 months in first and second-fill French oak. The palate is complex and satisfying with a softness that is unique to Pinot Noir. It will age well over the next three to five years.
Food pairing suggestions: Ostrich fillet with wild rice and a creamy porcini mushroom sauce, or Aubergine Parmigiana.
Retail price: The Winters Drift 2013 Pinot Noir is available nationally and retails at ±R120.
Vineyards and Cellar:
The Winters Drift winesare grown on the historic Glen Elgin farm which was bequeathed tothe Molteno Brothers Trust, with profits to be used for the furtherance of ‘educational, cultural and charitable interests’. The vineyards are meticulously cared for by viticulturist Christiaan Cloete and the wines are made by the inimitable KoenRooseatSpioenkop Wines in Elgin.
At his boutique Spioenkop cellar, everything is kept very simple and natural and human involvement is paramount. Koen’s vision is to produce elegant wines that are sexy and pure but at the same time unique, a little wild even. Personality is vital. “Who wants to drink monotonous wines without soul or character? Great wine isn’t perfect. It shouldn’t be! … At the end of the day it’s about what you feel and taste in your mouth. Taste intensity is crucial”, stresses Koen.
Winemaking comment from Koen:
“We had more than average rainfall during February, influencing the size of the berries and making the juice lighter in colour. Seeing all of this I decided to split the grapes in three batches, aiming for more complexity. To give the wine more backbone, 30% of the grapes were whole bunch pressed. The small batches helped for better skin contact. 100% natural fermentation took place and I decided not to rack the wine, making sure there was very little contact with oxygen as oxygen has a very negative influence on fruit character and wine colour. With Pinot Noir it is very important to know that you cannot have a set wine making recipe as for most other wines. You have to think on the day when receiving the grapes what will work the best, making plans, thinking out of the box! To give you an example, we decided not to do a lot of cold soaking, but rather by fermenting at a higher than normal temperature, we tried to get more tannins and better colour.”
The range of Winters Drift wines also includes:
• Winters Drift Sauvignon Blanc 2013 which retails at ±R75
• Winters Drift Chardonnay 2013 retailing at ±R97
• Winters Drift Shiraz 2012 retailing at ± R99
Winters Drift Tasting Station:
The Winters Drift wines can be tasted at the Winters Drift Tasting Station housed in the historic Elgin Station, where you canrelax ‘just off the spoor’and you might be lucky enough to see one of the grain-laden trains trundling past. Soak up the rural bliss and old world charm and enjoy Winters Drift wines and the ever-changing fine seasonal fare at Platform 1, the quaint railway-style café.