I’ll Drink to That: Winemaker Abrie Beeslaar of Kanonkop, South Africa

Episode 371 of I’ll Drink to That! was released recently.

We are at episode 371! Sort of can’t believe it, it seems like just yesterday we were at 218 or something. But anyway, 371 is a bit of a departure because it goes full on ‘TAGE MAHAL, as in Pinotage. I do not believe the word “Pinotage” has ever been uttered on IDTT before, but when we do something, we do it up big, and this was pretty much a full 40 minutes on Pinotage, with 5 minutes spent on hello, farewell, and how are you?: that sort of thing. As well as 5 minutes on an AMAZING Erin Scala recounting of how the fight against scurvy led to the foundations of South African wine. Really interesting, and well done by Erin. Should have mentioned that this interview is with Abrie Beeslaar, the winemaker at Kanonkop in the Stellenbosch, as well as for his own Beeslaar label.

Pinotage has a love-it or hate-it reputation, like a Marmite for the wine world. But Abrie Beeslaar wants you to know that if you have hated Pinotage in the past, you should probably blame the vintner, not the grape variety. Abrie, who specializes in Pinotage at Kanonkop, and has received numerous accolades for his achievements with the variety, feels that Pinotage is mighty particular. Basically, Pinotage is that cat whose fur you have to stroke in just the right way, or else it pees on your leg. As nobody likes a sodden leg, it is probably best to listen to Abrie on this matter, and indeed he has a lot to tell you. From the best soil type for the vineyard to the kind of rootstock, to the handling of the vines and the timing of harvest, this is an interview that revels in the details. Want to be a Pinotage geek? This is your opportunity to go deep on the grape variety. You may not ever pair Pinotage with Marmite again.

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I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine