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Home Winners > Winners 2013 > NEW WORLD: Zinfandel & Pinotage

Winner Details

New World: Zinfandel & Pinotage

Two grape varieties with a bit to prove – and neither of which exactly advanced their case for ‘must list’ status in this year’s competition

Parents of teenagers will know all about this. You bring up your children, they seem to be developing nicely, then suddenly, for no apparent reason, they take several steps backwards and turn into hideous, sulky, uncommunicative creatures.

Well, it looks like Zinfandel is going through something of a Sommelier Wine Awards adolescence. Since being given its own section (away from the Other Reds miscellany) it’s garnered both positive feedback and a fair number of medals. In 2012, it even managed two places on the Gold List – an impressive performance for a decidedly niche category.

Well not this year. One Bronze was the sole sum of its efforts, and our tasters weren’t exactly won over by what they were seeing either. Yes, our tasters accepted that Zin is always going to have opulence and generosity. Indeed, they’ve enjoyed such typicity in the past. But the wines also need a freshness, and too many of what came in were cooked, overblown and, at times, just plain odd.

Pinotage wasn’t much better either and, again, it was a grape variety that seemed to have taken a step back from last year.

‘I’m happy to have some of those rustic elements in Pinotage so long as the wine is well made, showing typicity but also elegance and quality. But we did not find that here; the wines were rustic, but that was about it, so we found it difficult to give many medals,’ was the assessment of Marco Feraldi of St James’s Hotel and Club.

There must, surely, be question marks over the pricing, too. Isn’t it possible to make decent wines sub-£10 with these grape varieties?