Articles and Reviews

Barista Pinotage

Posted by: Andy Kelly

Date: 01-10-2019

I did not understand wine. Until I drank this bottle…

So this is pretty much where it all began. My dad had slogged away and wasted many good bottles on somebody who wanted to like wine but just couldn’t understand it. I’d had stunning, mellow Bordeaux’s and powerful Malbecs and all I could get when I tasted them was “wine”. “Wine on the nose and “wine” as it went down (with hints of alcohol obviously). But then this little beauty came along, the 2011 vintage in fact. It wasn’t as powerful as a Malbec and it certainly wasn’t as expensive as a Bordeaux but, it was complex and I liked it.

I remember the nose most vividly. I just remember getting baked bean! And then because I got that on the nose, it was all I got on the palate! I thoroughly enjoyed every glass of it that evening and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every bottle of it since.

Barista Pinotage is made by Bertus Fourie who has actually earned the nickname “Starbucks” for his uncanny ability to produce wines that taste like coffee. Bertie doesn’t mess around and has put his multiple degrees to good use over the years, having been Cellar Master at Diemersfontein (another very good South African wine producer) and also Senior Winemaker at KWV.

The wine is made of 100% Pinotage which is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault. Pinotage has quickly become the signature variety in South Africa and it’s easy to understand why.

Tasting notes for the 2019 vintage are “A burst of intense, rich coffee and chocolate aromas with nuances of ripe mulberry, plum and Maraschino cherries. The sweet aroma of vanilla follows through on the palate and melds with the soft, luscious tannins. A wine ready to be enjoyed”.

The first thing that strikes me now with the Barista is the bottle. It’s simplistic and I love how they leave the adjoining line off of the A to make the writing in the Roman style. I’ve always had this fairly young as it never lasts too long on my wine rack! This gives it a distinct violet colour in the glass and there’s plenty of angel’s tears in the glass when you give it a good swirl.

Its smell is so full on and even now I don’t expect it. To me it still smells of baked beans, but I know that people less idiotic than me will say that you get coffee on the nose and I can see where they’re coming from.

It does taste like coffee as it goes down but I’ve also gotten hints of plum and plenty of chocolate whenever I’ve had it. It is medium to full bodied and it has a nice velvety mouthfeel too. One of its main strengths is its consistency though. I have never ever had a bad bottle of this and I have had every vintage from 2011 onwards. It truly is a quality wine and it is one that you should definitely try if you’re a fan of Stellenbosch.

But do you know what the best thing about this wine is? It is usually found for under a tenner and you can purchase it right now from Majestic here. What an absolute knockout of a wine and congratulations to Bertus for making such a distinct and flavourful wine. If you’re a fan of the bottle or want to try anything else from the Barista range then please give them some love here. Cheers!