Let’s start with no, I didn’t open this.
But yes, I’m still stoked by the opportunity to taste all the 2018 vintages with the winemaker when he happened to be making a delivery at the same time as I was picking up one or two wines. As I approached the counter, I spotted the cases...and realised that the guy delivering the wines looked pretty familiar (thanks to Instagram).
Yes, it was midday on a work day. No, I could not refuse a tasting. And yes, I almost melted into a puddle of happiness while trying to look respectable in front of the wine’s creator. Needless to say, I walked away with more than just the one or two wines planned for that day.
The nose. Oh the nose. I must have luxuriated in the black fruits (cherry, blackberry), red fruits, florals (rose petals), herbs (thyme, fynbos) and subtly savoury meats for a good 2 minutes. You know when you start to get nervous about whether the palate will live up to the aromas? One sip and I felt myself start to melt. And confusion started set in. Everything that the nose promised, the palate delivered. Red fruit, herbs, velvet tannins and balanced acidity that lasted as long as you could stop yourself from taking another sip. What was the confusion? It did not taste like you’re usual SA Pinotage...so much lighter and more elegant. I had to double check the label a few times to be sure that it was a Pinotage. Think fine Burgundy!
The name Fèniks is Afrikaans for Phoenix. and is a nod to the rebirth of Pinotage. The 7th generation winemaker uses single vineyard, old dryfarmed bushvines from the lower Helderberg. A vineyard that is unusual for Pinotage in that it contains no clay. The high silica is the reason behind the floral fragrance and finer, lighter tannins. But I’m convinced it’s Bernhard Bredell’s belief in curating the uniqueness of the soil and vines to fit this cultivar, together with honest and gentle vinification (hand picked, natural, no filtration or fining etc) that result in my favourite Pinotage ever. For any of you who have had any doubts about Pinotage - this will change and blow your mind!