April Imported Wine: 2010 Tormentoso ‘Bush Vine’ Pinotage, Agter-Paarl, SOUTH AFRICA
“Cabo Tormentoso” (translated as “Stormy Cape” or “Cape of Storms”) is the original name for the Cape of Good Hope given to it by the Portuguese explorer Bartholomieu Dias who first rounded the Cape in 1488. The story goes that upon his return home, the Queen of Portugal took an immediate dislike to the name and changed it to “Cabo da Boa Esperança” – the “Cape of Good Hope” as we know it today. There are multiple readings of the word Tormentoso: drama, torment, struggle. All of these seem apt when you consider where our grapes are grown.
The vines grow in a dry area with little or no irrigation, but the rocky shale soils of the Agter-Paarl region allow the roots to penetrate deeply, to get to the moisture reserves. The vines have to endure a certain amount of struggle to ripen their grapes, and it’s this torment that produces our distinctive wines with concentrated flavors and aromas.
“We have sought out pockets of excellence from among our growers’ finest vineyards and have chosen to highlight them in the Tormentoso range. Such as the Tormentoso Old Vine Chenin Blanc, where the grapes come from a 33-year-old vineyard, or the excellent Bush Vine Pinotage vineyard that always produces a bright, clean modern expression of this grape.” Tormentosowines.com/sa
Vinification Details: Grapes were hand-harvested from bush vine vineyards on Malmesbury shale soils. Matured in 40% new, small oak barrels for 12 months. A portion of Shiraz was blended into the wine for added complexity. Fined and filtered before bottling with screw-cap closures.
Vintage Description: Ideal ripening conditions started the 2010 season, with cool temperatures prevailing. Strong wines resulted in some crop loss, but increased concentration of flavors in remaining fruit. Good winter rains in 2009 kept vineyards healthy throughout summer. Overall, quality of wines was very good indeed.
Varietals: 89% Pinotage and 11% Shiraz
Alcohol: 14.0% by volume
Tasting Notes: A full bodied Pinotage with typical black cherry aromas, toasted marshmallows and sweet fruit. Palate shows plums with soft, rich tannins.
Food Pairings: This wine asks for fine cooking. Think of sweetbreads and morel mushrooms, venison, and lamb!
Jim Lutfy’s thoughts: “Explosive wine here! Loaded with concentration and layers of flavor. I am excited to have you experience Pinotage…one of South Africa’s treasures. A great wine to drink with rich cheeses or something on the grill. Enjoy!”-JL