The Heartbreak Grape

Pinot Noir has been described as the “Heartbreak Grape” with good reason. Originating from the Burgundy region of France, this fragile grape has proved to be one of the most difficult grape varietals to make wine from. It is fragile, temperamental, and tests the skill of the winemaker to the limit. The winemaker will often fail to produce a good wine from Pinot Noir, hence leading to much “heartbreak”. 

Yet despite these difficulties Pinot Noir has remained a very important varietal and much sought after. Why?

The reason is simple – apart from forming a cornerstone in the making of Champagne and other great sparkling wines, Pinot Noir can result in some really sensational wine!

With this in mind, we (a small group of friends) decided to sample some locally produced Pinot Noir at a recent wine tasting. 

 

 

Preparations for the evening, with the welcoming bubbly in the foreground.

Six bottles of Pinot Noir were selected to be used in a blind tasting, four from the region between Elgin and Hermanus (most suitable for producing Pinot Noir), and two from other regions. To add even more interest to the tasting we decided to pair it with food, but not just any food.  Carefully researched and prepared  steamed edamame beans with scallion dip as a starter, and spaghetti al nero with smoked salmon, creme fraiche & cods roe as mains!

 

The table set against the beautiful pastel colours of the sky at dusk.

 

The wines to be tasted poured, and set out out in sequence for parallel tasting.

 

Generous tasting portions and pens ready for taking notes.

 

Finally we were all ready to start tasting!

 

Below is a glimpse of  some of the wines we tasted:

 

 

Some distance into the tasting, our starter dish, the exquisite (and new to me) steamed edamame beans with scallion dip was served to be paired with the wine.

Needless to say it paired very well!

 

Riana surveying the scene while busy with the starter dish.

 

With the starters under our belts, we proceeded to individually rank the wines tasted from most liked to least liked. Once the ranking was done we removed the covers from the wine bottles to reveal the winners and losers.

 

Jaunine’s tasting notes.

 

All the wines were good so choosing a favourite was not an easy task, but in the end two wines stood out to be the favourites :

“Sounds of Silence” (the lead image) and “The Affair”, both of which were very representative of the colour, nose, and palate typical of Pinot Noir.

 

 

With enough wine left in our glasses we were ready for the main course, and once again our hostess did not disappoint! 🙂

 

Our main course being dished up.

 

In anticipation of the main course.

 

The hours slipped by quickly while the wine, food, and company was enjoyed until very, very late – a sure sign of a wonderful evening!

 

 

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