Friday, February 17, 2012

The Grinder 2010 Pinotage: For Starbucks Fans

If you enjoy a hearty brew with dark roasted beans, consider uncorking this South African new arrival. You would swear it was either made by Starbucks or their dark roasted beans were blended with grapes. Actually, neither is the case. It is made by South Africans, not Seattle folk, and is produced from 100% Pinotage.  Thats the made in South African hybrid grape, a natural blend of Pinot Noir and Cinsault parentage.  Not as elegant as Pinot Noir but easier to grow; not as alcoholic or bland as Cinsault, but it does grow as abundantly. While it is grown a bit outside of South Africa, including B.C., 99% of it does come from its native land and they've been making Pinotage since the 1930's.

The grinder has the smokey character of most South African reds, the coffee aroma and flavour you would expect in a Starbuck's Grande, the red berry jamminess you would taste in an Aussie Shiraz, and the chocolate character you get from Purdy's. Its got spunk, quite smooth, and though there is sweetness while its in your mouth, the Grinder finishes dry, just like most reds.  I really like it and think its a great buy at $15.  No doubt it would be goot with grilled ostrich if you are dining on the veld. Here in North America, grilled beef or lamb  would be an appropriate alternative, especially if you ground up some espresso beans with black pepper and made a crust with some seasoned salt. I would be tempted to try some with dark chocolate after dinner too. Chill it in the fridge for half an hour to let the wine cool to cellar temperature. It will be much more refreshing and tasty.

If you wonder where that coffee/chocolate character comes from, Beppi Carossial of the Globe and Mail recently wrote that it comes from the charring or toasting of the wine barrels this red is aged in.  Burning the inside of the states caramelizes the wood and creates new organic compounds that have the same natural chemical compostition of the flavour agents in roasted coffee and chocolate. Makes sense to me. 

The Grinder 2010 Pinotage: For Starbucks Fans. South Africa, $14.99, 14.5%
Medium red wine. Highly recommended.

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