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Today's Wine Tasting Note

© Copyright 1999 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

Middelvlei Middelvlei 1993 Stellenbosch (South Africa) Pinotage ($12.99)
I ran across this wine at a local shop and was intrigued enough by a slightly older Pinotage to give it a go. While I didn't find it dump-worthy, I thought it disappointing, but can't quite decide whether it was a damaged bottle or just about what you should expect of a six-year-old Pinotage. It's inky dark ruby with an orange glint. Earthy "paintbox" aromas seem typical of Pinotage, laced with tar and smoke and a wisp of overripe, pruney fruit. Flavors follow the nose, smoky and dark, with a very tart, almost puckery acidity; earthy and pruney tones take over in the finish. Interesting, but falls short of what I'd call enjoyable, although I'm told that this particular winery has improved its product under a new wine maker in recent years; I'd willingly try it again from a more recent vintage. U.S. importer: Maisons, Marques & Domaines SA Inc., Oakland, Calif. (May 10, 1999)

FOOD MATCH: Anticipating the earthy nature of Pinotage, I had hoped the wine would be a good match with grilled portabello mushrooms topped with mozzarella and roast peppers; as it turned out, the lemon-tart acidity was a bit much for the food. We pulled a Zin (the Toad Hollow Cacophony reported previously) to have with dinner instead.

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All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.

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