South Africa is best known for its robust red wines and, increasingly, its bright Chenin Blancs. But I had the opportunity to try a Pinot Noir recently from a producer that I’ve known for some time.
I’ve written about Seven Springs’ other wines in the past and have always been impressed by their calibre. They are a small, premium producer located in the picturesque region of the Western Cape, South Africa and owned by a former English businessman, Tim Pearson. Tim has a small dedicated team working with him, which includes their young and talented winemaker, Riana van der Werwe. Riana has been making some great wines and the Pinot Noir is no exception.
Pinot noir is known as the “heartbreak grape” because it can be difficult to grow and is very particular about its climate. If it’s too hot, it burns and if it’s too cold, it won’t ripen fully or evenly. It’s also thin skinned and so susceptible to disease and other maladies. In short, it takes a brave or confident winemaker to grow Pinot Noir and even more so to be able to produce a good wine.
Having tasted their inaugural Pinot, the 2011 Seven Springs Pinot Noir, I can happily say that they have achieved the right balance. I am partial to red Burgundies and although this Pinot Noir is not like them, neither is it a dark and intense version of New World Pinot Noir. Rather, I found it to be a fresh balance between the two, straddling the Old and New World. Fresh, medium bodied with notes of toast and smoke, it doesn’t attack your palate with gobs of ripe red fruits. I found some tasty strawberry and raspberry flavours mingling on my palate with a fine line of minerality that runs through the core of the wine.
A very moreish wine, we all enjoyed it with a snack of oven baked black kale sprinkled with truffle oil and sea salt that my friend had whipped up to go along with it.
Seven Springs 2011 Pinot Noir is available in the UK and retails for £13.95 from Bijou Bottles.