Friday, 25 February 2011

Barista Pinotage 2009

Majestic, £5.99

Oh how I laughed the day that all the skin fell off the Russian's hand. But a year on and the same thing happening to my face seems less amusing.

A quick search reveals an astonishing 47 conditions that cause peeling skin. A few, such as overdosing on Polar Bear liver (is it that good?), seemed unlikely, but it still left a long and unpronounceable list of potential triggers.

I obviously needed some first-hand (excuse that) information from the Russian, so decided to pay a visit. And knowing that insider tips don't come cheap I made a beeline for the cellar to find some red wine to placate him.

Amongst the usual array of Syrah and Cabernet I espied an imposter from South Africa. Quite what had possessed me to buy more Pinotage I have no idea, but I can't have been in a happy place at the time. Either that or the devious bottle shape had made me think I was picking up a tasty Zinfandel. I don't think I had it before my last venture to Majestic, but unfortunately the new manager there doesn't know me well enough to have power of veto yet. This seemed like a good opportunity to make good on that mistake.

The label designer had abandoned a 'minimalist' style in favour of 'plain lazy' so I accessorised with a Cat Rabbit and made my way.

The nose is savoury, but not funky, with a little dark fruit coming through, and something intriguing that I couldn't quite place.

The palate is initially dominated completely by coffee. How they've made fermented grape juice taste quite exactly like black coffee is another mystery not worth exploring, but with the silly name and all it's clearly their gig. Luckily it soon gives way to a bit of light fruit and some peppery herbs, not much length and only a little structure, but pleasant enough. If tasted blind I'd guess at a slightly weird Languedoc wine involving Syrah, Mouvedre and other hangers-on.

Suprisingly nice. Not as surprising as finding out I actually did have Polar Bear Poisoning would be, but definitely nicer.


  1. Well, it's winter in England, so your face falling off can't be sunburn...
    Pinotage - I won't have the stuff in my house, have never found one that is even remotely palatable.
    Interesting cat-rabbit thingy.

  2. I know! It's madness. An imbalance of humours methinks.

    And you're right- the Cat Rabbit was probably the best thing about that bottle.