Home Winners > Winners 2019 > NEW WORLD: Pinotage

Winner Details

New World: Pinotage

2019 Gold 2      Silver 2      Bronze 0      Commended 1
2018 Gold 2      Silver 2      Bronze 0      Commended 2

Our Pinotage results this year were eerily similar to those last year. Not only were the number of medals exactly the same, so was the split of our two Golds: one great-value entry-level wine, and a more ambitious version around the £12 mark. The latter, from Spice Route, even picked up a Food Match award.

All of this suggests that this variety’s eye-rolling reputation is more or less consigned to history. Our tasters are happy to reward these wines when they’re well made, and increasingly they are. The days when a flight of these was like cleaning an ashtray with your tongue are long gone.

There’s some decent wine in here, and it does OK in the Sommelier Wine Awards every year. It would be interesting to see how it performed with a larger entry…


‘A surprisingly good flight. I was expecting them to be lighter, and maybe simpler, and low in acidity, but found them to be very good, particularly the highest-priced, which was beautiful, complex in structure, and with some farmyard notes.’ Elisa Soggia, Kai Mayfair

‘The highest-priced, at £26, is a very premium Pinotage. There’s definitely a market for that somewhere, but it’s very niche.’ Andres Ituarte, team leader

‘It’s a love-it or hate-it grape, and we had good examples on both ends of the spectrum, from big fruit characters to the most elegant style. It’s a good example of the improvement in winemaking in South Africa, where they’re letting the grapes express themselves.’ Andre Luis Martins, Cavalry & Guards Club

Award winners

Found 5 wines

New World: Pinotage

Spice Route, Pinotage 2017, Swartland, South Africa

Gold medal winner Food Match

‘Never in a million years would you know that this was Pinotage,’ said team leader Andres Ituarte of this splendid Gold medal winner, adding: ‘It’s very well made and concentrated and could definitely age; it’s very good.’ ‘It’s nicely perfumed,’ continued Andre Luis Martins of Cavalry & Guards Club, ‘with raspberry and sweet spice plus there’s complex fruit with an elegant finish.’ ‘So intensely spiced,’ said Paola Giraldo of Wiltons, ‘with ripe red fruit and plums and good rich tannins.’ Markus Dilger of Dilger Sommelier Selection admired a nose of ‘plum, cinnamon and coffee beans’, adding: ‘This is spicy, well-balanced and long, perfect with grilled lamb chops with chocolate sauce and wine jus.’

£11.42 Liberty Wines

Imbuko, Illusion, Pinotage 2017, Western Cape, South Africa

Gold medal winner

‘Great entry-level Pinotage,’ said team leader Lionel Periner, awarding this bottle its deserved Gold medal: ‘There’s good cooked fruit aromas and a smoky, meaty note, while the palate is full bodied and the tannins are smooth.’ ‘It’s very well made,’ said fellow team leader Andres Ituarte, adding that it was ‘nice and herbaceous and very good value’. The Royal Automobile Club’s Michael Fiducia found ‘fresh, lifted aromas of morello cherry and warm Simnel cake spices, plus a rich, warming palate’, while Elisa Soggia of Kai Mayfair simply described a ‘nicely balanced wine, with soft tannins and gentle acidity’.

£6.39 LWC Drinks Ltd (Merchant and Shippers)

Spier, 21 Gables, Pinotage 2015, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Silver medal winner

‘Plum, dense forest fruits, chocolate and pepper spices on the nose, with good concentration of fruit, juicy, with exciting young tannins,’ said Markus Dilger of Dilger Sommelier Selection of this Silver medallist.

£24.26 Bibendum , Walker & Wodehouse Wines

Perdeberg, The Dry Land Collection, Resolve, Pinotage 2015, Paarl, South Africa

Silver medal winner

‘A concentrated nose of dark stone fruits, spices and cream,’ noted Michael Fiducia of The Royal Automobile Club. On the palate, he found the wine ‘more serious, with a well-structured grip and decent length’.

£9.45 Boutinot

MAN Family Wines, Bosstok, Pinotage 2017, Western Cape, South Africa

Commended medal winner

£7.20 Enotria&Coe