South Africa is not known for its Pinot Noir although that is changing quickly. But what you have a hard time finding with the qualitative change, which pretty much afflicts anywhere Pinot Noir is produced in the world, is pricing: Good Pinot Noir has a cost and very few places can make something that is true to varietal and has any interesting characteristics in the lower price spectrum.
Playing on that price/quality theme we recently tried the 2020 Boschendal 1685 Pinot Noir and it made an notable impression on us. In fact we were so taken back at its price/quality ratio that we wanted a 2nd crack at it to make sure that our 1st experience wasn’t premature. No flaws here, in fact the second go made us assured that this was the real deal. Offering nice varietal integrity – lovely strawberry, light cherry fruit on its silky textured medium bodied frame, it’s blessed with more than enough nuance and depth of fruit to bring you back for a second glass.
As a sidebar we were told that this wine was specifically made for export to the US market, knowing that a Pinot Noir, with enough going on to bring interest into the equation, with pricing to match, could be a fit. At $14.99 a bottle this is sure to win over a few Pinot lovers.
88 pts Wine Enthusiast November 2022
Light aromas of red cherry and plum are at the core of this lighthearted wine, with some additional hints of strawberry hull and licorice root hiding in the background. The palate is smooth and silky, with more ripe red-fruit tones that are supported by ample acidity and a delicate framework of fine tannins that yield a clean, easygoing finish. Drink now.
The vineyards from which this lush Pinot Noir originate from have their roots in the cooler regions of the Western Cape. Vineyards ranging from the high-elevations of the Ceres-Plateau on the Western Coast’s side to Elgin (60% of the blend), which boasts some of the coolest vineyards in South Africa with an elevation of up to 1,348 feet.
The bunches were sorted on arrival at the cellar where they were crushed and left to cold soak on the skins for three days. Wild yeast fermentation was allowed to start the fermentation. A selected Pinot Noir yeast strain was inoculated to complete the alcoholic fermentation that took place in small batches, including some in open-top 500-litre barrels. Gentle punch downs were done by hand. Fermentation completed. From here the wine was transferred to selected French oak barrels in which malolactic fermentation was completed. Barrel maturation took place for 12 months. For the final blend, a barrel selection was done: 15% first-fill, 30% second-fill, 40% third-fill and 15% fourth-fill French oak.