Wine of the Week #2 – ‘S’ Sigma Mellasat 2012 White Pinotage, Paarl Coast

To my friend who once denounced my fondness for South Africa’s native Pinotage, I can only say he was totally wrong – Pinotage hasn’t tasted like burnt rubber tires (his words) for a very long time. And this year, we had the good luck to discover white Pinotage – a true treat.
Masciarelli Wine Company’s annual fall tasting in Boston is always a treasure trove of wines and if one takes the time to focus on certain wineries/styles/varietals, they’ll find a myriad of well-worth exploring vintages.
Such was the case this year when we began with the two booths serving South African wines and fell in love with this relatively rare white Pinotage. It quickly became a favorite with the first sip. Terry Seitz Selections presented the wine, noting that production is limited with only 1,800 cases exported to the U.S.

The grapes are whole bunch pressed right after picking the juice from being colored by the red pinotage grape skins. The wine is barrel fermented and held for 10 months, producing creaminess and nutty notes. It’s 13.5% abc and goes for a suggested retail price in the $19 range. It’s been an award winner for the 2010 and 2011 vintages.

The winery dates to ’96 but the vineyards date to 1693. Located 45 minutes from Capetown, it’s in the heart of winemaking country. We loved this wine and would like to see it have broader distribution.

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