Let me ask you straight out - would you fancy a red wine that tasted of coffee? No? Me neither but could be we’re in a minority. As I discovered on my recent trip to South Africa there’s a huge following for what has become known as ‘coffee’ Pinotage.
The craze actually started nine years ago at the Diemersfontein winery who were after a new style of Pinotage that would appeal to younger wine drinkers. (Pinotage is the country’s indigenous grape, a robust, rustic and occasionally rubbery blend of Pinot Noir and Cinsault)
Its creator Bertus 'Starbucks' Fourie then went on to create a similar wine at KWV (the Cafe Culture Pinotage) then moved to Val de Vie where he set up his own venture called Barista.
The flavour apparently comes from the way the oak staves the wine is aged in are toasted to bring out chocolate and coffee flavours rather than the traditional vanilla ones.
Fourie says his favourite pairing is “a blue cheese filled brandy snap with Belgian chocolate and roasted coffee beans” but claims that it goes with “most controversial desserts”. Whatever that means.
I tasted the original Diemersfontein one and have to say it wasn’t bad - not that different from the kind of flavours you’d get on a full-bodied Pinotage or Shiraz. I’m not sure I’d go down the chocolate route though - it seems to me it would go better with something that doesn’t have chocolatey flavours of its own like a chargrilled steak or South African game. (It went quite well with the Moroccan spiced quail I was eating.) You can buy it in Waitrose if you want to give it a try.
Does the idea of coffee-flavoured wine appeal to you?