INSIDER'S PICK: 2016 LOVINGSTON WINERY PINOTAGE 'GILBERT"S VINEYARD' (Wine Enthusiast 90points) $22.99
Certain grape varieties struggle in Virginia to ripen consistently and produce wine that's worth the blood, sweat, and tears put into them every vintage. Pinot Noir is one such grape, tricky to deal with even in the most hospitable growing regions where it has success, and downright devious everywhere else. It's a fragile grape that doesn't like extremes in heat and humidity, which as we all know Virginia experiences in spades seemingly every season. For those that like the silky polished texture of Pinot Noir, they might want to try what Lovingston Winery has figured out and plant more Pinotage. The hybrid grape is best known for production in South Africa, where it has become a staple in many regions. As a cross of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut, it takes on more of the rustic and gamey characters of the Cinsaut grape, but here in Virginia it assumes more of the Pinot Noir svelte textures, and the Cinsaut lineage makes it more durable to deal with our climate year after year. As their vineyard matures the wine has just moved from success to success, and 2016 is no different.
Dark in color but more transparent ruby at the edges, the aromatics are full of dark spice and smokey cherry tones, taking the best aspects of both parent grapes. The first sip is where the great success appears for this wine, impressively polished with Burgundian style fine dark tannins and darkly spiced fruits similar to cool climate Oregonian wines. There is always a little touch of underlying savory notes that aren't quite Pinot-y to remind you it is a Pinotage you are drinking, but the elegance and refined character is SO impressive you will let it slide. This is excellent to take to family out of state over the holidays just to show off a side of Virginia wine that is rarely able to be captured.
The Best of the Best.
We offering free tastings on these wines in the store every Thursday and Friday, and a 10% discount off the retail price through the duration of the day. Come on by and give them a try!