In 2018 Boutinot began a lease agreement with and took over the farming of a property directly adjacent to Waterkloof in Stellenbosch, S.Africa. There they discovered a solitary little parcel of unirrigated bush-vine Pinotage planted in 1994. This is now the only Pinotage remaining on The Schapenberg – the hill on which Waterkloof and the neighbours sit.
Soon after, they were informed by one such neighbour (Myrtle Grove) that The Schapenberg was in fact the very hillside chosen for the first commercial plantings of this uniquely South African grape variety, way back in 1941. Boutinot then corroborated this seemingly fanciful story (ought to have been at Kanonkop or such like we thought) with Wikipedia then South Africa’s Pinotage Association and yes, this 1.3 hectare of Pinotage they stumbled upon was, and still remains today – THE LAST OF THE FIRST.
So, a barrel was made of 2019. Shock and awe. Real finesse.
Then in 2020, after much toil by Christiaan and his team restoring the block to better health (still a work in progress) they eked out 3 x 600l barrels and decided to see how it fared against South Africa’s other examples of this oft-maligned grape, entering it into the country’s leading and most comprehensive wine companion: PLATTER’S SOUTH AFRICAN WINE GUIDE.
Lo and behold the wine was named PLATTER’S PINOTAGE OF THE YEAR and the 2020 was snapped up, mostly by proud and patriotic South Africans.
In 2021 THE LAST OF THE FIRST gave up just 1400 bottles. A statement of what Pinotage can be when planted in the appropriate environment, with vine age and careful, sensitive winemaking.
Only 168 bottles became available to independents across the UK and yes, that included us!
Colour – Luminescent dark cherry.
Aroma – Sour cherries, earthy and savoury notes.
Taste – Excellent balance, finely integrated tannins threading through from start to finish.
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