Sentinel Vineyards Pinotage 2003 - a double Trophy winner and pedigree affirmed

Thursday, 17 June, 2004
Rob Coppoolse & Walter Finlayson
Formerly a somewhat disparaged cultivar, the judges were responding to the rich/fruity character of this impeccably balanced wine.

Sentinel Vineyards Pinotage 2003 was named best Pinotage at the prestigious Fairbairn Capital Trophy Wine Show, and as a further accolade was awarded the trophy for Discovery of the Show.

While the awards reflect a general trend of appreciating Pinotages, formerly a somewhat disparaged wine, the judges were responding to the rich/fruity character of this impeccably balanced wine. French wine authority Michel Bettane was effusive in his praise: 'The Pinotage winner was superb, quite superb', he said before commenting, 'It shows what refined Pinotage is capable of'.

Winemakers Adele Dunbar and Danielle Du Toit (under the ever vigilant eye of Walter Finlayson) retained their customary modesty when asked to divulge the secret of their success by describing Pinotage as one of the easiest grapes to handle. But then again, the mark of expertise is often the deceptive grace by which labours are performed.

While not exactly in short supply, the plan is initially to release the wine in small quantities and to gradually feed it into the market, thereby ensuring adequate stock to meet the demand of both overseas and local suppliers, and also allowing some of the stock a period of further bottle maturation, to enhance even further. Simply put, we would like to reach as wide a customer base as we can and ensure a regular, albeit limited, supply for at least the following 12 months.

The good news though is that the Trophy win has attracted deserved attention to the previous Sentinel Pinotage releases. Wine magazine, South Africa’s pre-eminent wine publication, awarded the 2002 Pinotage 4 stars in its May issue while marvelling at its incredible value for money.

Current vintage on sale is the 2001 which garnered a Bronze Medal at the Fairbairn Capital Trophy two years ago, a 3½ stars rating in the selfsame Wine magazine and now benefiting superbly from of another two years in the bottle. What is also most significant about the winning wine (as well as its predecessors) is the price.

The award of an additional, and possibly more coveted trophy, that of 'Discovery of the Show' is a significant compliment. This award was based on the quality-price ratio of the wines entered, and Sentinel Pinotage was deemed to offer the best value of all. In the light of this, and notwithstanding the Award and the obvious increased demand this will generate, the Sentinel Vineyards Pinotage 2003 will remain at the normal price, at least until year end.

Stocks will be available from early next week at the Sentinel Vineyards located on the R44 just outside Stellenbosch (6 bottles per customer at this stage) and will gradually filter into the trade both locally and internationally, via our respective distributors.

Contact: Margaret Grahn
Tel: 021 889-5050