Wondering why we have selected Pinotage as Silkbush Mountain Vineyards first export wine? First and foremost, we know we have a terrific wine made from exceptional Pinotage grapes.
Bruce Jack, the highly talented and internationally recognized winemaker and founder of Flagstone Winery has been purchasing Silkbush Pinotage for several years. Bruce has been very laudatory of the fruit and our vineyard manager, Anton Roos. But the payoff was June 26, 2009 at the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show, one of the two most prestigious shows in South Africa.
The 2009 show attracted over one thousand entries, with international judges and international wines. Medals were very scarce with only 7% of entries garnering a silver medal or better.
Rising above the competition, Flagstone Writer’s Block 2007 was selected one of the four best Pinotages at the Show. This wine, which retails for over $38, is 100% made from the same Pinotage fruit that goes into Lions Drift Pinotage.
Bennie Wannenburg, the Cellarmaster at Waboomsrivier (our large local winemaking facility in Breedekloof) started experimenting in 2007 with three different red wines exclusively from Silkbush grapes, using new French oak barrels. All three wines were quite good, but our Pinotage was simply remarkable.
Local grower members of the winery pretty much gobbled up our 2007 grapes but we lassoed a pallet (56 cases) and brought it to the US so our American partners could finally drink wine from their own African vineyard and to do test marketing. The response from discerning palates in the wine trade, from sophisticated wine collectors at private tastings, and from dozens of friends and other consumers all confirmed we really had a winner.
However, by the time we had completed the market research, and we were ready for the 2008 wine, most of that vintage had been purchased; however Bennie still had enough in barrels for 270 cases.
With the success of our test markets for two vintages, we are now full-speed ahead with our 2009 Vintage, released in early 2012.