MICHAEL FRIDJHON: Pinot noir has yet to ride the New Wave
This wine variety sells in the same bracket as the most sought-after craft wine
Anthony Hamilton Russell can rightly claim to be one of the senior statesmen in the world of Cape pinot and chardonnay — so he was speaking with some authority when he observed recently that neither of the two Burgundy varieties has attracted the attention of the Cape’s “New Wave” winemakers. There are a few exceptions: Leon Coetzee at Fledge & Co has been making pinot noir for years and Mullineuxs offer a fine Stellenbosch chardonnay in their Leeu Passant range.
New Wave is largely identified with older, generally virus-resistant vineyards. Look down any list of single variety or New Wave blends and (with the exception of chenin) the Mediterranean, rather than continental France, rules supreme. Excluding chenin, grenache (red and white), cinsaut, mourvedre, shiraz and clairette blanche account for 80% of what’s on offer. Mainstream international varieties — cabernet, merlot, riesling, malbec, as well as pinot, chardonnay, pinot blanc and sauvignon blanc — hardly feature at al...