Winery: Oak Mountain Winery
AVA on Bottle: Temecula Valley
Winemaker: Steve Andrews
How They Describe It
A succulent wine with rich aromas of banana, mocha coffee, and toffee carried by a smooth and delicate palate delivering plum and nutty flavors. Pairs well with gamey meat dishes.
How I Describe It
Oak Mountain’s 2015 Pinotage is a beautiful medium ruby. The color is so vibrant there are almost purple characteristics.
Such an interesting nose to this wine! A bouquet of campfire smoke, caramelized banana, cranberry, and coffee leads. Next come notes of pipe tobacco, blackberry, fresh cut grass, menthol. There’s a bit of a goat cheese aroma from the yeast, as well as nutmeg, coconut, and butterscotch from exposure to oak.
Flavors in the Oak Mountain 2015 Pinotage largely follow the nose, albeit with slight differences.
Campfire smoke, toffee, and a blend of starchy banana and cranberry show up front. Blackberry, coffee, and tobacco elements follow. The wine has undertones of earth and wet leaves — likely from bottle aging — as well as nutmeg, vanilla, and goat cheese from the yeast and oak respectively.
This is a dry wine with full body, medium acid, high but balanced alcohol, and well integrated medium-plus tannins.
Why is This Wine Special?
I’ve been looking for an excuse to try Oak Mountain’s Pinotage for a while, and was really excited TWR provided an excuse to purchase a bottle. Pinotage is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault (pronounced Sin-SOH), created in the 1920’s by South African vintners. It’s now the country’s signature varietal, and only a few vineyards outside of South Africa grow it.
In fact, in all of California there are only 52 acres of Pinotage planted. Oak Mountain Winery owns five of those acres, and is the only winery in the Temecula Valley AVA to produce Pinotage. Owner-winemaker Stephen Andrews has done an amazing job over the last 19 years crafting a stand-out wine.
It’s worth noting Oak Mountain Winery is located on the De Portola Wine Trail (alongside neighbors Fazeli Cellars, Somerset Winery, and Danza del Sol). It’s a bit removed from some of the larger wineries on the Rancho California Trail, which I’ve found makes the tasting rooms a bit less crowded.
Oak Mountain Winery is also one of the few Temecula wineries to make sure of a constructed cave system. The caves provide temperature control for barrel aging, and are pretty cool to visit.
When & How I Would Drink It
The Oak Mountain 2015 Pinotage is the kind of wine which whiskey drinkers (primarily scotch) would enjoy. This wine is less a thirst quencher than an additional dish to a meal, meant to be savored. If you have access to home-smoked or roasted game, fowl or brisket, this wine would pair nicely.
How to Get It
Bottle Price: $45
Cases Produced: ~285 cases (approximately 3,400 bottles)
Have you tried the Oak Mountain 2015 Pinotage? How did the tasting notes compare with your experience? Leave a comment below.