2003 Mountain River Pinotage Shiraz

Price: $6.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Mount Global Wines

What They Said:

Per my3loves “In the glass: Dark and completely opaque. Ruby-lit highlights when you hold the glass up to the light

Scent: This wine smells strongly of fermentation and slightly musty–like walking through forest with a thick ground covering right before it rains. There is a definite perfume of dark berries (blackberry, cherry, and maybe currant?). The scent is powerful and forceful–even with my glass sitting next to my computer about a foot away from my nose, I can still catch a whiff of berry and pleasant mold.

Taste: Heavy and rich, almost “thick” tasting. More of that mustiness in the taste as well–I think immediately of rich cheeses like blue cheese, gorgonzola, and roquefort. It’s not an unpleasant taste, but not always one I’d want in a sipping wine. The individual berry flavors aren’t as prevalent in the taste as in the smell, but the effect is still fruity. Very smooth, not a lot of tannins (that puckery flavor present in a lot of younger wines). The overall taste is quite bold. It really coats the entire tongue uniformally. There’s no spiciness–it really “sits” on the tongue and lingers a long time after you swallow a mouthful.”

What I Think:

This is 50% Pinot/50% Shiraz and apparently from the same makers as Zarafa which I remember from TJ’s some time ago. Pinotage is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault. This blend “combines the fruit characteristics of Pinot Noir with the hardiness of Cinsault”. I have had a number of Pinotages that I have quite enjoyed so am always on the lookout for these. I would have thought it strange to blend a Pinot derivative with Shiraz had I not come across some interesting efforts in this area while in Asutralia. So curious I was when popping the cork. What I found was a nose full of must, on the palate it was full and there was some forward dark fruit with that mustiness, almost smokey, as a backbone. The taste lingered in the mouth, not sure if it was pleasant or not but it sure was there. This is worth a try from someone, if it finds the right palate it could be quite a deal for that person. Alas for me, the hunt for value continues…

Rating: Skip It