Abraham Izak Perold was born in 1880 in Cape Town. Clearly a very bright boy, he studied Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry at Victoria College in Stellenbosch before going on to obtain a PhD in Germany in 1904. For the next two years, Abraham travelled widely, exploring France in depth and conducting what could be considered as the 20th Century’s equivalent of the Grand (viticultural) Tour of Europe. He returned to the Cape with a knowledge of colloquial Spanish, Portuguese and Italian to add to his fluent French, German, English and Afrikaans. In 1910, Abraham discovered the table grape Barlinka whilst travelling through Algeria. Returning it to South Africa, he cultivated the variety to the point of establishing it as one of the Cape’s most valuable agricultural export assets. This initiative alone should be considered of much greater significance of Abraham’s contribution to South African viniculture than he his most celebrated work – the creation of Pinotage. In 1917 Abraham became the first Professor of Viticulture and Oenicology at Stellenbosch University, where he began his scientific examination of vines and researched into their origins and best growing conditions. From 1927 onwards, he served as chief wine advisor for the KWV. It was before he left to take up this positon that Abraham planted four seeds from a crossing of Pinot Noir and Cinsault in the garden of his official residence at Welgevallen. He then appears to have (conveniently?) forgotten about them. With his departure, the garden became overgrown and a team of workers was sent in to tidy it up. Fortuitously, a young lecturer, Charlie Niehaus, who knew a thing or two about seedlings, just happened to be passing by at the time and decided to rescue them from the clean-up team. So, we should perhaps be blaming Niehaus rather than the innocent Abraham..?
In 1935, the young (and as yet unnamed) plants were transferred to Elsenburg Agricultural College under the direction of Abraham’s successor, CJ Theron, where they were grafted onto the newly established Richter 99 and Richter 57 rootstocks and re-planted back at Welgevallen. Abraham continued to visit his former colleagues and it was here that Theron showed him the newly grafted vines – with the best performing example being selected for propagation. It was at this moment that the newly-created variety was a christened Pinotage.
Bright cherry fruit on the bouquet a touch of plum with some typical smoky Pinotage notes. Sweet cherry and red berry fruits, good acidity, just a hint of smoky bacon. All these elements follow through adding complexity and depth on the palate. Well integrated tannins on the finish.