93

2011 Cape Chamonix Pinotage, Franschhoek

( £16, 14, Oddbins )

If you’d rather drink Piat d’Or than most Pinotage, this off-beat example from the Franschhoek Valley might change your mind about this controversial South Africa grape. Gottfried Mocke’s red is made in an unusual (unique for the Cape?) style that uses the ripasso technique of refrementing the wine on its skins and it’s brilliant, with flavours of plum, spice and mulberry, subtle oak and just the right amount of tannin for backbone. 

BuyDrinking window: 2015-19Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, South Africa, Red, Pinotage
89

2011 Kanonkop Kadette, Stellenbosch

( £9.99 down to £7.49, 14%, Sainsbury's )

So-called Cape red blends are controversial, largely because of the inclusion of Pinotage, which can dominate other varieties to a remarkable degree. But that’s not the case here, despite the presence of 57% Pinotage, offset by Merlot and Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc. This is a classy, nauanced red, with well judged oak, fine tannins and leafy, grassy Cabernet combined with sweeter, raspberry notes from the Pinotage. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-17Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, South Africa, Red, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinotage
91

2010 Kanonkop Kadette, Stellenbosch

( £9.99 down to £7.49, 14%, Sainsbury's )

This is only the baby wine from this historic Cape winery (hence Kadette) but it’s still very impressive. A blend of mostly Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon with splashes of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, it’s elegant and poised with polished tannins, seamless integration between the varieties and lots of potential. Long and well balanced, this carries its 14% alcohol with effortless grace. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-18Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, South Africa, Red, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinotage