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South Africa Red Single Varietal over £10

And the winner is...


Located in the hills and dales between Bain’s Kloof and the Groenberg Mountain range in Wellington, Paarl, Doolhof Wine Estate is the highest farm in the Bovlei valley. Its 18th century name, which means labyrinth in Afrikaans, derives from its labyrinthine topography. In Greek mythology, the Labyrinth was home to the Minotaur, a creature half man, half bull so the name is also a good fit for this Trophy Winner, which is made from South Africa’s very own Pinotage variety, a crossing of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut.

Pinotage has been pilloried in the past and owner Dennis Kerrison, who bought the farm in 2003, is the first to admit that “the old style Pinotage tasted bitter and often of burnt rubber and tar.” So when the Englishman with a passion for South Africa started making his own wine in 2005, he determined to make a modern style – “very fruity and elegant, with great oak/fruit balance, early maturing but which keeps well and with no bitterness in the after-taste.”

This Trophy Winner was made by Friedrich Kühne and, with experience in France and the United States, Kerrison says “he brings an international approach to making our Pinotage.” Describing it as “an elegant wine with finesse,” Kühne points out it was cold soaked for 3-4 days before being fermented at lower temperatures than is usual in South Africa.

An extended two week post-fermentation maceration and maturation in 50:50 new and second fill French oak for 12 months account for its “big structure and great mouth feel.”

Written by Sarah Ahmed

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