The hallowed halls of La Cité de Vin, arguably the world’s finest wine experience centre which is situated in Bordeaux, France, was recently introduced to the joys Pinotage. During a visit to Europe by a group of final year students from the Elsenburg Agriculture College, an appointment was made to present the wines and culture of Pinotage to a select audience of wine aficionados at the spectacular La Cité de Vin.
And present to make the introduction was none other than Beyers Truter, chairman of the Pinotage Association who was also part of the Elsenburg party.
“The La Cité de Vin is simply the greatest wine venue on earth,” says Beyers. “A spectacular museum and experiential venue paying tribute to the global wine culture. When we were invited to do a presentation on Pinotage, we knew saw this as in immense honour as this underscored the La Cité de Vin’s acceptance of Pinotage as one of the world’s great grape varieites and one that was born on South African soil.”
According to Florence Moffard, partnership manager of the Cité de Vin, the institution was privileged to have Beyers and the team of Elsenburg students present to do a presentation on Pinotage.
“The audience of wine experts were captured by the unique Pinotage story, including the South African foresight to cross to grape varieties – Pinot Noir and Hermitage – and then the way it has developed to its present status one of the country’s premier grape cultivars,” says Florence.
“Beyers gave an enthusiastic presentation on the various flavour profiles found in Pinotage, for us French we were excited to learn about the various foods you can pair this wine with,” she said. “Beyers recommendation of Pinotage with oysters was most interesting as it is one of our traditional delicacies in the Bordeaux region.”
After the presentation a wine-tasting was held where it was decided that two Pinotages would be included as part of the partnership between Wines of South African and the La Cité du Vin: Beyerskloof Pinotage Reserve 2014 and Mellesat Vineyards White Pinotage 2015.
“It truly was a unique experience to taste two wines – red and white – made from the same grape variety,” said Florence. “We found this introduction to the Pinotage culture and its people most interesting and a lot of fun.”
Beyers said this was one of the highlights of the European tour.
“No matter what anybody says, Bordeaux is always going to be the capital of the wine world,” he says. “To experience the hospitality and warmth of the folk at the prestigious La Cité du Vin toward South Africa and Pinotage was a reassurance that we are part of the brother- and sisterhood of wine.”