This wine has an interesting blend of black and red fruits, with a touch of vanilla, on the nose. There isn’t a hint of the dreaded Pinotage “burnt rubber” in this wine. It gets really interesting on the palate, throwing out layers of different flavors, one after another. It starts with tart black fruit, blackberry and a little elderberry, but within seconds the tart flavors shade to cranberry, then even more quickly sweetens to strawberry, joined by limestone and vanilla. This is a young Pinotage, with good acid, and lightly dusty tannins, that doesn’t have any off flavors that might magnify over time, suggesting it is a good candidate for half a dozen years or more in the cellar. This is a good wine at a great price. Drink with barbequed beef. Highly Recommended (91). DH

WHO: Lions Drift
WHAT: Pinotage
WHERE: Breede River Valley, South Africa
WHEN: 2009
HOW MUCH: $18 (Media sample)

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7 Responses

  1. Helen Jefferson

    I can attest to the well deserved high marks for this wine. loved every swallow. Now, all i need to know is where can it be purchased in the East Bay? since I was out of state when I had my first tasting.

  2. PH Spies

    Lions Drift 2009 Pinotage is all about building great care into the value chain from the vineyard to the cellar: A carefully selected terroir, environmentally responsible vineyard practices and a precisely measured wine making process.

  3. J Clark

    I was lucky enough to sample this wine and was blown away….really loved it!

  4. Bob Bartell

    Finally someone figured how to get a top notch South African wine in quantity to the U.S. And doubly great that we got one of SA’s own, Pinotage, since no other country grows it well (or at all?). There are lots of excellent SA wines made; I’ve tasted many of them at the wineries. But we don’t see many of them on the East coast, except for a few of Hamilton-Russell’s. Got a case of this Pinotage for my birthday this year but didn’t get to drink as much of it as I would have liked. Gave several bottles to friends so they could see how good it is. Laid some down for a while because it should get better. Got my fingers crossed for another case next year. Kudos to Dave Jefferson for makong this wine available to the US.

  5. Alana Gentry

    Excellent wine. Being unfamiliar with Pinotage, I was so surprised when I first tasted it. It’s balanced and well-made. Very enjoyable and a great value. Two thumbs up.

  6. Dave Jefferson

    A few may find our “back story” interesting: an old friend, Bob Bartell, won a Fulbright Fellowship to a South African university for the year 1994. While our company had been growing wine grapes in Napa and Sonoma since 1973, I knew nothing about South African wine. So we agreed to rendezvous in Cape Town in April 1994 (the week before the historic first General election)and spend 4 days in Stellenbosch. The wines were colossal, very inexpensive, and the people of the Winelands could not have been more hospitable. It was a revelation and I and decided to return ASAP.

    After numerous trips during ensuing years, several spent scouting for wine farms for Beringer Wine Estates, in 2000 my partners and I purchased a somewhat rundown vineyard and fruit farm on the flank of beautiful mountains in the Breede River Valley. It was adjacent to a model property owned by Anton Roos’ father in law; Anton was a brilliant young vineyard consultant who now is our local partner, General Manager, and architect of a magnificent vineyard resurrection and expansion. What was 70 old planted acres is now 215 acres of new but mature vines including 11 different cultivars, of which 15% is Pinotage. Due to exceptional soil, water, and farming, all of Silkbush Mountain’s grapes are wonderful, but the Pinotage is world class.

    After 17 years, 28 round trips, millions of invested capital, and countless man-years by talented workers of multiple races, we are now an “overnight success.” Since we are also a licensed winery as well, consumers in several countries will be able to enjoy exceptional Pinotage under the Lions Drift label and hopefully several other wines in the years to come.

    Thank you, Professor Bartell. You started us on this journey and I am so pleased you enjoy the end product.