Buying South African Pinot Noir in Singapore - Buyer's Guide

Pinot Noir is a thin skin grape, that is notoriously difficult for agriculturists to cultivate it in some soils and climate. The skin of Pinot Noir is extremely delicate, where its tolerance for expansion or contraction is often put to the test. A thorough examination of the craft of a viticulturist, and winemaker skills in the field and in the cellar.

There are other factors that affect the production of Pinot Noir in the vineyard. Such as susceptibility to disease, rot/fungus, extreme weather, and wind. It is no wonder, that some of the most expensive wines are made from Pinot Noir.

The golden slopes of Burgundy, France is home to this revered varietal. Over the years, it has expended it’s footprint throughout the world old and new. One such country is South Africa, where there are more than 1200ha of Pinot Noir plantings or 1.5% of the total planting.

In South Africa, Pinot Noirs are commonly found in the cool districts of Walker bay and Elgin. Hamilton Russell (A household name by now) pioneered and championed the development of pinot noir in the Hemel-en-Aarde valley ward. It was a major success. Many other wineries have since followed their footsteps, and established world renown brands such as Creation, Newton Johnson and many others. Regular international recognition, and endless publication interviews are testament to the area increasing quality.

In Singapore, Stellez Vine believe that the next winery to look out for is Newton Johnson Family Wines. Founded in 1995, in the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde ward by Dave and Felicity. It has gone from strength to strength. Featuring in esteemed publications such Decanter, wine advocate and many others. It is consistently recognised as one of the best Pinot Noirs outside of Burgundy.

The very first wines made on the farm were from grapes purchased from neighbouring farms. Soon after, their own vineyards flourished enabling them to expand their portfolio. The Family, Felicite and Single Vineyard ranges soon followed. 

These days, the 2nd generation owners Bevan and Gordan (Sons of Dave and Felicity) are carrying the torch and keeping traditions alive. Their focus is to perfecting techniques in the vineyard and cellar that resonate the best of their conditions. 

Their wines can be found here:

Food Pairing with Pinot Noir Wine

Pinot Noir is an excellent addition to any wine and food pairings, mainly because it is more like a red berry and because it is fragile. You can easily combine it with any meaty fish such as salmon, tuna, squab, chicken, veal, pork, and duck.

You can match Pinot Noir with any Sushi or Sashimi dish or any Asian cuisine of your choice. Its acidic levels can also make it ideal for pairing foods and sauces of relatively high acidity. Regarding hard and soft cheeses, Pinot Noir is also a good match with a host of them.

How does it taste?

Pinot Noir produce sensuous fragrance.

Its scent aroma varies depending on the berry characteristics, whether strawberry or raspberry. It also has a tincture of spice like cola and incense. Its taste varies depending on its degrees of ripeness. When it is ripe, it tastes like cherry, strawberry, or raspberry.

When it is exotic, it tastes like fraise du Bois, mulberry, loganberry. If it becomes overripe, it tastes like jam. But generally, it has a tinge of mint and vegetable. Its texture becomes silky with age in bottles, and it possesses some touch of leather, game, and truffles.