Waitapu Estate ‘Reef View’ Northland Pinotage 2016 and 2015
Pinotage is one of this country’s more interesting varieties trialled over the course of our modern wine industry. It conveniently bridged the gap between hybrid red and noble vinifera wines. Its funky, lifted and savoury, musky characters were reminiscent of the hybrids, but the wines from Pinotage had somewhat more class in comparison. In reality, this vinifera crossing of ‘Hermitage’ and Cinsault, meant as a Pinot Noir/Syrah crossing never has the noblesse of Pinot Noir, Syrah, or any of the classical Bordeaux varieties. Its time in New Zealand was in the 1970s. Although it is very highly regarded in South Africa, in New Zealand it is thought of as special only in Northland nowadays, with Nick Nobilo alsdo continuing to champion it, his being grown in Gisborne.
Eric and Sandra Shackleton of Waitapu Estate near Kaitaia in Northland have Pinotage as a flagship variety along with Syrah. The Pinotage wines I have tasted are flavoursome and have a robust and rustic richness which can be compellingly appealing with gamier red meat dishes. It is in some ways a ‘blast from the past’, but the variety offers an individuality that has its place in today’s wines of elegance and squeaky cleanliness. The Waitapu Estate wines are made at the nearby Karikari Estate. Here, I review the 2016 and 2015 vintages. Both years are regarded by Eric Shacklelton as ‘pretty average’, but not poor like 2017! I found the 2015 wine from a stronger vintage. www.waitapuestate.co.nz
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Waitapu Estate ‘Reef View’ Northland Pinotage 2016Pinotage from New Zealand - Northland & AucklandReview Date : 17-Jan-2018Even dark-red colour with garnet hues on the edge. The nose is softly full and voluminous with gently lifted aromas of savoury and spicy mulberries and red berry fruits along with some earth and game notes with volatile suggestions. The aromatics grow in density with aeration. Medium-bodied, the palate has elegantly concentrated flavours of savoury and spicy mulberries with a layer of lifted game and earthy elements. The mouthfeel is lively with good acid energy, and rounded from soft, supple tannins that enable immediate approachability. The flavours are up-front, and carry to a moderately lingering, soft finish. This is a soft, rounded and approachable Pinotage with savoury and spicy mulberry fruit along with earth and game notes. Serve with barbecued and grilled game meats over the next 3 years. Fruit from Waitapu Estate fermented to 12.5% alc., the wine aged at least 12 months in seasoned French oak barrels. 16.0/020 Jan 2018 RRP $28.00
Waitapu Estate ‘Reef View’ Northland Pinotage 2015Pinotage from New Zealand - Northland & AucklandReview Date : 17-Jan-2018Full, dark, deep red colour with black hues, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is softly concentrated with full and deep aromas of dark-red berry and mulberry fruit along with lifted savoury and spice cedar notes. Medium-bodied, the palate is well-proportioned with flavours of ripe dark-red berry and mulberry fruit entwined with cedar, spice and game elements, lifted by a little volatility. The flavours show with good depth, and the mouthfeel features refined tannin extraction and integrated acidity. The palate has good drive and energy, leading to a lingering finish. This is an elegantly proportioned Pinotage with concentrated, but rounded flavours of dark-red berry and mulberry fruit with lifted spice and savoury layers on a fine-textured palate with good depth. Match with lamb, beef and venison over the next 3-4+ years. Fruit from Waitapu Estate fermented to 12.5% alc., the wine aged at least 12 months in seasoned French oak barrels. 17.0/20 Jan 2018 RRP $28.00