An amazing tasting of 15 rustic reds from Christoph Merchiers, South Africa’s best wine friend in Belgium. 5 each from Italy, SA and the USA with SA represented by Beyerskloof featuring Pinotage. No surprises there then. Italy provided Primitivo and Negroamaro while the USA supplied Zinfandel. Alcohols varied between 13.5% (Beyerskloof Pinotage 2012) and Li Veli Montecoco 2010 an incredible 16.5%. Only one bottle was closed by a screwcap – the Beyerskloof Pinotage 2012.
The only wine I wouldn’t drink was the Taurino Salice Salentino Riserva 2008 which was too many wild horses and bitter almonds for me. The Zinfandels all had a signature fruit sweetness while the Pinotages had those distinctive acetone notes you either hate or don’t. Francis Ford Coppola wins the label award for his Director’s Cut 2010.
The stand out wines for me were from Li Veli, all with an amazing lightness of being, even when the alcohols were swingeing.