Our wine library consists, primarily, of two sections; anytime wines and special occasion wines. And what is Christmas Day if it is not a day worthy of something exceptional. And in South Africa the Christmas Day feast accompanied by the warmer climate is calling for a lighter style red.
I am not ashamed to admit I am a Tim Atkin groupie; and when he shares a South African wine which he highly regards and enjoys, I search it out and track it down. This was the case with Mark Le Roux’s Pinot Noir simply named ‘Mark’
“Superb first release from Mark Le Roux, one of The Cape’s best winemakers, under his own label” Tim Atkin MW (18th October 2019)
Mark Le Roux is the winemaker at Waterford and has been since 2013. In 2017 Tim Atkin named him as South Africa’s Young Winemaker of The Year. He used to make an Elgin Pinot Noir for Waterford which has since been discontinued. Mark saw an opportunity which Waterford supported him on and this is the result. A Pinot Noir was not the varietal Mark imagined would be his first release, but here it is and I am sure he has not regrets.
My favourite wines are those which are winemaker’s passion projects, not driven by bank managers, targets and owners of wine estates. They are a true expression of the winemakers devotion to the grape, to the terroir, to the art of winemaking. They are free to be their own artist, no longer commissioned or instructed.
Mark’s Elgin Pinot Noir is a radiant crimson colour, it shows generous, bright red fruit; pomegranate, raspberries with hints of tomato skin adding a savoury complexity and depth. A beautiful floral line of dried fynbos comes through rounded off with supple tannins and a mouth watering acidity.
In line with all great Pinot Noirs, it shows purity and a perfect balance of fruit and savoury notes. It’s beauty is within its restraint. It’s an honest wine, showcasing its cool climate terroir and origins. There is nothing showy about this wine. It adjourned the Christmas table, became part of the conversation without taking centre stage; a graceful and elegant guest. The characteristics of a classy and well made Pinot Noir.