"Pinotage is truly at home in the Swartland, and this vineyard proves this point year after year. With the dry winter, we had to make sure we picked the grapes at the perfect time, to get the right balance between optimum fruit and tannin. The result is a modern style of Pinotage, with soft tannins and a easy drinking palate." – Winemaker Charl du Plessis
Spice Route, Swartland Pinotage is an intense ruby red colour. Rich blackcurrant and cherries on the nose. Intense dark fruit flavours on the palate that combines well with sweet vanilla oak aromas.
Spice Route, Swartland Pinotage is the ideal wine for spicy Indian dishes or a well matured steak.
|Style||Dry, Red, Medium Bodied, Black Fruit Spices, Oak Aging, Smooth and Easy Drinking|
About the region and producer
Charles Back was a pioneer in the Swartland when he started Spice Route in 1998 after tasting an exceptional Sauvignon Blanc and immediately buying the land on which it was grown. "Without [Charles]…the Swartland would still be regarded as a rural backwater" wrote Tim Atkin, who awarded the winery ‘Cru Bourgeois’ status in his South Africa Classification in 2019. Today, the region is the source of many of South Africa’s outstanding wines, yet Spice Route remains one of the best and most credible producers in the region, due largely to the fact that they own their own vineyards. Spice Route’s 100 hectares of vineyards are situated in Malmesbury and Darling. The former, all bush trained on Malmesbury shale and red clay subsoils (the clay allows the vineyards to be dry grown), give the Grenache and Mourvèdre the intensity of fruit that makes this region so exciting.
Winemaker Charl du Plessis has been with Charles since 2002 and knows the region intimately. The winemaking is ‘hands-off’, as Charles is keen to capture the flavours and structure of the outstanding fruit he has grown. In fact, despite the desert-like conditions of the region, the vines are not even irrigated. The signature wine is the ‘Chakalaka’, a blend of six different grape varieties. The name is derived from a spicy South African relish which is similarly a fusion of different flavours. A blend of Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Carignan, Petite Sirah and Tannat, it has great intensity, a Rhône-style depth and supple tannins.
Swartland is a hot and dry area, although it benefits to some degree from the Atlantic Ocean’s cooling effect on its western border. Producers such as Spice Route and Thorne & Daughters specialise in producing high quality wines from varieties such as Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Rhône-inspired blends.
Vineyard and Wine Making
Spice Route, Swartland Pinotage is produced from a single block of bush vineyard on the Klein Amoskuil farm in Malmesbury. These unirrigated bushvines were planted in 1997 on Koffieklip soils. This deep ferricrete soil is comprised of decomposed granite from the Paardeberg Mountain percolated with iron rich brown and red stones. Koffieklip soils produce elegant red wines with robust structure.
The bunches for Spice Route, Swartland Pinotage were fermented in 5-ton open concrete fermenters with manual punch-down of the skins twice a day, extracting deep colour and flavour. The wine was pressed off and transferred to tight-grain American oak barrels with 30% new oak used to complete malolactic fermentation and maturation. A small portion also matured in underground clay pots.
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