Wine Review of 2015 L’Avenir Single Block 02 Pinotage Red, Stellenbosch, South Africa
This red wine by Stellenbosch winery L’Avenir is made from 100% Pinotage and is part of the producer’s Single Block series.
Grapes were sourced from the winery Estate itself (L’Avenir) in Stellenbosch, a 10.49-hectare site (26 acres) planted with old vines (established 1985). Irrigation is applied during the warmer summer months when the soil water table is parched. There are 8 blocks of Pinotage located on various aspects of the large hill that comprises L’Avenir, allowing certain blocks to be isolated for specific vinification styles and premium wines. Block 02 was selected as single vineyard for this 2016 Single Block Pinotage.
The Indian Ocean is less than 20km away (12 miles), and gentle afternoon sea breezes drift over the farm and exert a cooling influence against the late afternoon Cape sun.
After fermentation, the wine was aged for 18 months in used French oak barrels and stainless steel tanks.
So, How Good is L’Avenir Single Block Pinotage?
This ZA Pinotage comes in a pretty dark ruby red color. You can hardly see through the core, while the rim throws a vibrantly dark red filled with youthful purple hues.
Straight from the first sniff, the wine states its obvious concentration, its ripeness, as well as its clear oakiness.
The fruity notes are dominant to the aromatic profile, plum and prune, dark blackberry come with strawberry jam and fresh raspberry. These fruity characters are clearly wrapped up in a smoky vanilla and oaky caramel.
Add some lifted peppery spiciness, with a sense of earthiness, for quite a captivating, rich and pungent, opulent, almost in-your-face nose!
Appealing it is to smell though, as well as intriguing! Its apparent complexity leaves you wondering what’s to come on the palate, and whether the wine will over-deliver or under-deliver, after setting expectations pretty high!
Put the wine in your mouth, and the answer comes to you rather quickly and obviously.
Yes, this is a concentrated wine, filled with a gorgeous fruity and ripe concentration of blackberry jam, prune, fresh dark cherry, dried figs, and other fruity goodness.
It’s also generously spicy, featuring loads of sweet spices like clove and ginger, as well as the warming chili-like type of spices, pepper too. Licorice, bushfire smoke, dark chocolate, and more. There’s a lot going on!
Tannins are very smooth and velvety, helped in providing a richly textured oily sensation by an opulent body. The acidity is though, cutting through the richness enough to preserve a sense of freshness to a fruitiness that is coated in caramely, coconut-oily and vanilla-rich goodness.
The finish is sort of mid-length so far for such a rich and concentrated wine. But it will surely develop much further with ageing.
An opulent, concentrated, layered, fruity and spicy Pinotage, dry and acidic, yet so rich, oily and ripe that it feels generous and fruitily sweet. The richness though, is delivered with a sense of control, and a relative finesse. No flavor overpowers the others, in a very well balanced generous and warming ripe whole.
A very well executed Pinotage then, providing the richness and power we love from the iconic grape for South Africa wine when it’s well made, yet preserving its character and its signature with hints of tar and a sense of salivating earthiness.