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Named after the coffee machine and the person who brews and dispenses espresso and lattes, Val de Vie’s 2012 Barista Pinotage tastes like no other Pinotage. In fact, we doubt it resembles any other wine you have ever tasted, unless of course that other wine happens to be another special “Coffee Pinotage.” The deeply brooding color of the 2012 Barista belies the soft fruit and seductive scent of freshly ground coffee that first greets the nose. Blended with the redolence of cranberry, pomegranate and raspberry, the aroma of the 2012 Barista sucked us in even before the first sip. On the palate, one experiences a full burst of coffee, supported by a deep core of red berries and a touch of vanilla. Dry and full of flavor, Barista exits gracefully on a stream of fine grained tannins. If you like coffee, you’ll almost certainly love this wine. And if you don’t drink coffee, like a number of our tasting panel members, you may find yourself changing you mind, especially after allowing this smooth flavorful concoction to glide down your throat. Enjoy the 2012 Barista Pinotage at cool room temperature (60°- 65° F) now and over the next several years.
Coffee lovers will want to drink the 2012 Barista neat, completely unencumbered by any accompaniment. But Barista is no one trick pony; it actually shines at table in the company of grilled vegetables, creamy casseroles, stews, smoked meats, cheeses, and most especially chocolate. In fact, Barista designer Bertuis Fourie and the folks at Val de Vie serve the 2012 Barista with a Blue Cheese Filled Brandy Snap with Belgian chocolate and roasted coffee beans. We second that motion, as our own tasting panels also found dark Belgian Chocolate to be ultimate pairing with Barista. Even the few panel members who at first weren’t quite sure what o make of Barista quickly began singing the wine’s praises in the company of chocolate. Mocha Crème Brulée makes another fine accompaniment.
The world of wine is no static domain content to produce only what tradition dictates or consumers demand in mass. Val de Vie Estate and renowned South African winemaker, microbiologist, chemist, oenologist and entrepreneur, Bertuis Fourie, attests to the excellence and innovation that increasingly dominate the South African wine scene. In creating Barista at Val de Vie in conjunction with Vinimark The Wine Company, South Africa’s largest independent wine wholesaler, Bertuis Fourie has created a “Coffee Pinotage” that is both exciting and unique.
Bertuis Fourie, nicknamed “Starbucks,” for the advancement and innovative contributions he has made to the production of “Coffee Pinotage,” has done more than anyone else to introduce a little known South African specialty to the world. Moreover, he has created a cult following for Barista in just a few short years. But what in the world is a Coffee Pinotage, you may ask?
For starters, Coffee Pinotage contains no coffee or caffeine. It’s 100% wine made exclusively from Pinotage grapes. What imparts the coffee flavor to Barista and all “Coffee Pinotages” are a combination of unique yeasts and specially toasted oak staves used to ferment and age the wine, all of which impart a distinctive but not overpowering coffee tone to complement the rich fruit flavors of select Pinotage grapes. Starbucks and other Pinotage producers look out! Coffee Pinotage may not replace many morning lattes, but it’s also not a flash in the pot or a one hit wonder as the meteoric rise of Barista, one of the best and most affordable of Coffee Pinotages to wash ashore from Africa’s Western Cape, can affirm.
Val de Vie Estate, located in Paarl on Africa’s Western Cape, has been making wine since 1825. Surrounded by a dramatic mountain landscape and steeped in history, Val de Vie is home to a stunning manor house and newly refurbished wine cellar in a sumptuous French Style. If nothing else, Val de Vie enjoys a reputation as a lifestyle estate. It has earned that enviable repute for catering to the pursuits of pleasure and sport. The estate sports some of the world’s most beautiful polo fields to complement the property’s outstanding food and wine.
Pinotage enjoys the reputation as South Africa’s signature grape variety, even though it represents only a tiny fraction of South Africa’s wine production and it remains relatively unknown outside of South Africa. Developed in 1925 by Professor of Viticulture Abraham Izak Perold at the University of Stellenbosch, Pinotage is a cross between two premium French grape varieties, Pinot Noir from Burgundy and Cinsault from the Rhône Valley. Perold’s original quest was to create a grape with the vigor of Cinsault and the finesse of Pinot Noir. Instead, what has emerged is a wholly unique grape varietal with little resemblance to either of its forbearers. When handled properly Pinotage produces a richly fruity wine of high alcohol with distinctive smoky flavors that is capable of considerable ageing. Recently, some premium South African Pinotage producers have introduced what it affectionately called “Coffee Pinotage,” a unique 100% Pinotage that offers a distinctive coffee flavor to complement the grape’s rich fruit. A combination of special yeasts and toasted oak barrels or staves is responsible for the wine’s coffee flavor.
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