Virginia Grows What?
Riaan Rossouw, winemaker at Lovingston and a native of South Africa, has had great success in the state with his home country’s idiosyncratic grape. A crossing of Pinot Noir and Cinsault, Pinotage was first fashioned in 1925 by chemist and viticulturist Abraham Izak Perold. In South Africa, Pinotage often yields wines with tones of dark fruit, spice and earth, and many versions come with hints of coffee and chocolate. The variety usually creates medium- to full-bodied wines, bolstered by firm tannins.
“South African Pinotage tends to be more rustic when young,” says Rossouw. “[They have] big structures, high tannins and need time to cellar.”
Rossouw’s style at Lovingston captures the grape’s nuances and delicate aromas, which can include cherries, violets and leather, plus a spicy finish that’s reminiscent of cracked pepper—and they’re ageworthy.
“When freshly opened, it acts more like a Rhône and when it settles it is more Burgundian,” he says. “This might give insight into how this wine will age. Decanting is of utmost importance.”
90 Lovingston 2011 Gilbert’s Vineyard Pinotage (Monticello)
abv: 13.5% Price: $27