MICHAEL FRIDJHON: ‘Heartbreak grape’ finds love in the Cape
It’s a safe bet that fewer than 10% of the pinot growers in Burgundy know or care about the fact that August 18 is International Pinot Noir Day. For a start, they don’t see themselves as pinot noir producers: in their professional world the site, the patch of dirt in which their vines are rooted, is the single most important fact. If they make white wines, their vines are chardonnay. If red, then pinot noir.
Not so those in the New World who live from the juice of the “heartbreak grape”. The mere fact they have pinot rather than syrah or cabernet confers a peculiarly different stature to their enterprise. Since pinot noir was traditionally much harder to manage (and once upon a time even harder to sell) they bear the trans-generational scars of their fathers. By way of an example: the first modern pinot plantings in SA were exclusively the desperately ordinary BK5. Only after 1990 did the first Dijon clones appear.