Another special wine smuggled all the way back to the UK from the Granite Belt is the Ravens Croft 2019 Pinotage. With only 8 out of about 6,000 vineyards growing Pinotage in Australia, this has to be one of the rarer Strangebirds (alternative varieties) seen in the Granite Belt.
Pinotage was originally developed as a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault for the South African climate, and has since become a signature variety there. Of course, it’s little surprise that producer Mark Ravenscroft was born in South Africa and carried a little piece of his homeland. And boy, has he brought the best of it with him with this example!
Mark’s single acre of Pinotage sits at 950m in altitude, about 12 kilometres west of Stanthorpe. 2019 was also a very dry vintage for the Granite Belt, which kept yields low and quality high. This meant a tiny batch of Pinotage with a balance of cool-climate elegance and concentration.
Medium-light ruby in colour. Sour cherry, bramble berry, thyme, clove, anise, forest floor, dried mint, toasted oak and trademark Granite Belt earthiness on the nose. Medium-light bodied, with crisp acidity and well structured tannins, the palate more fruit forward with red cherry, strawberry and liquorice. Decent length finish with hints of white pepper and coffee coming in on the end. Very gluggable – you’ll wonder where the bottle went before long!
Pinotage has faced some criticism, where it can be a bit tricky to make and things can go very badly. But this is a great example of a Pinotage done right with a delicate balance of structure, body and fruit.
Have you tried an Australian Pinotage? I’d love to hear your experience below!