Had a Glass: LAM Pinotage 2011

LAMPinotage1Vintage: 2011
Producer: Lammershoek
Variety: Pinotage
Designation: LAM
Region: South Africa
Sub-region: Swartland, Coastal Region
ABV: 13.5%
Price: $20 (WS)

He says: ”How can you tell a Pinotage in a blind tasting? Well, it smells like a riot: burning tires and smoke!” Ah, Pinotage. The jokes could have kept on coming, especially after drinking so many over-extracted, palate-numbing examples on our visit to South Africa. Thankfully, a visit to (our new favorite) Swartland producers, Lammershoek, changed our minds about what is possible with this much maligned grape. Using carbonic maceration to gently extract colour and flavour from Pinotage is a genius move, essentially, taming all that is beastly. What is left is akin to a Beaujolais Cru, with an added dimension of black pepper and earthiness unique to this variety. Add to this Lammershoek’s natural approach to winemaking, and you’re left with an eminently drinkable wine, with loads of fresh red fruit and spice. A perfect summer bbq wine, slightly chilled even. Obviously, Lammershoek aren’t the first to do this, but their execution on this bottling is very inspired. One can only hope it marks a new direction for this variety.

She says: Swartland is far from the large manicured lawn estate wineries of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franchoek. Wine is not the first thing that comes to mind when you look upon the dry landscape. And yet this was hands down our favourite Pinotage on our trip to South Africa. Not only do Lammershoek make good wine, they also have some incredibly eye-catching yet classy labels (no furry animals or cursing in sight). An exciting wine from an exciting wine region.

Tasting note

Looks like: Turbid(!), bright, deep ruby w/ a narrow pale rim, tears
Smells like: clean, developing, med(+) intensity aromas of raspberry, red cherry, strawberry, cola, a hint of eucalyptus
Tastes like: Dry, med(+) acidity, med body, med(+) intensity, low ripe tannin, flavours of raspberry, strawberry, cola, cranberry, cinnamon, black pepper, slightly rubbery/earthy undertone, med alcohol, med(+) finish
Summary: Very good, Drink now, can keep 2 years


1 comment to Had a Glass: LAM Pinotage 2011

  • Yes! Huge fan of their other label for Pinotage. My favourite descriptor from that day was “hospital corridor”.

    Rubber aroma-wise: apparently Pinotage only smells of the older band-aids that aren’t widely sold anymore (and that I never got to smell). I’m too young for this shit.

Wine truths

“I was in love with a beautiful blonde once. She drove me to drink; that’s the one thing I’m indebted to her for.”
by W. C. Fields

Wine Ratings

★☆☆☆☆ - Poor quality. Avoid. Save your money. Between 80-84 points.

★★☆☆☆ - Average quality or poor value. Between 84-88 points. Some expensive wines are downgraded for bad value.

★★★☆☆ - Good. Between 88-92 points. Or a good value on the lower end of the point scale.

★★★☆☆ - Excellent quality. Between 92-96 points. Or a cheap yet good quality wine which is excellent value.

★★★☆☆ - Outstanding, best examples in the world. Between 96 and 100 points. A perfect wine.