Barista Pinotage, that is, coffee wine

Our friends who live in South Africa, Loren and Caroline, are coming to visit this week, which is always exciting. Ken just got an email from Loren asking if there was anything we wanted him and Caroline to bring us from Johannesburg. Besides a baby elephant, we couldn’t think of anything. Loren said it was a shame that the Barista Pinotage wine produced by Val de Vie wasn’t available quite yet, and we said, Huh?

Pinotage, as I understand, is a specific grape variety grown in South Africa.

So we did a little research. We’ve all heard of coffee beer and coffee vodka, and various other coffee spirits, but this was the first Ken and I had heard of coffee wine. “Bertus Fourie is the winemaker who achieved fame, and some say notoriety, for launching the coffee-n-chocolate Pinotage style upon the world while he was working at Diemersfontein. Some purists object that it is not varietally correct, but there is no doubting that Diemersfontein’s Pinotage is hugely successful and has introduced many people to the delights of Pinotage,” writes Peter F. May for the Pinotage Club, a fanclub for wines made from the pinotage variety.

“Bertus, by now nicknamed Starbucks, moved on to KWV for whom he created their mocha toned Cafe Culture Pinotage. Bertus said: “I love to make ‘coffee Pinotage.’ it is such a consumer friendly wine and I have met thousands of people as a result. One of the people he met was Martin Venter, developer of Val de Vie Lifestyle Polo Estate, who offered Bertus the position of managing director at associated Val de Vie Wines in 2004. Val de Vie specializes in Rhône style wines, so when Bertus and Martin got the itch to create their own coffee Pinotage, they created a new label and called the wine Barista,” continues May on the blog.

Barista Coffee Pinotage 2009 will be released soon. Ewine, a wine review group in South Africa, describes the Barista Pinotage as such:

The Barista Pinotage has a burst of intense, rich coffee and chocolate aromas with ripe nuances of mulberry, plum and Maraschino cherries. All the aromas follow through onto the palate and are enhanced by sweet aromas of vanilla and butterscotch. The wine has ripe luscious tannins and is ready to be enjoyed now. The Barista Pinotage is very food friendly and has been listed in a number of restaurants, with accompaniments varying from meat dishes and rich creamy casseroles to controversial desserts. Bertus’s favourite accompaniment remains a blue cheese-filled brandy snap, with Belgian chocolate and roasted coffee beans.

Here’s to hoping they send Barista Magazine a case or two to try out.

Please note: Our apologies to Mr. Peter May for not attributing some quotes to him in the previously published version of this blog post.

About Sarah 934 Articles
Sarah Allen (she/her) is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.


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