Chateau Lorane 2011 Pinotage

Ready to try something different?

In the land of Pinot Noir, the safe bet is to make lots and lots of Pinot Noir. But Linde Kester has never been the sort of fellow that goes for the safe bet.

Linde was a garage winemaker in his home in California who decided to “retire” to the Eugene area while on vacation. But not one to go half way, he bought a 200 acre piece of property that included a 25 acre lake and planted 30 acres of grapes more than 20 years ago. For over two decades, Linde has been known as one of the most unconventional winemakers in Oregon. Sure, he’s got some Pinot Noir, but he’s known among hardcore wine nerds for producing unusual varietals like Baco Noir, Huxelrebe, Marechal Foch, Léon Millot, Melon de Bourgogne, and Pinotage.

Linde’s passion and reputation for high quality wines from unusual grapes has made him the go-to guy whenever a farmer has some unique grapes to sell. That makes Chateau Lorane the perfect winery to feature during our “back-to-school” unusual varietals theme. (I even considered just selecting four of his wines!)

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Chateau Lorane, Lorane, Oregon
2011 Pinotage

There it was, collecting dust on the bottom shelf of a wine shop in Southern Oregon. A Pinotage, here in Oregon? I had no idea that anyone was growing this unusual grape here.

And it was good. I called up the winemaker, Linde Kester, and drove up to meet him at his estate vineyard about 20 miles south of Eugene. I knew right away – I was going to be there awhile. He had over 30 varietals and many were from the only plantings in Oregon.

OK, so what’s Pinotage? In 1925, a professor at South Africa’s Stellenbosch University was looking to crossbreed Pinot Noir with something sturdier. He settled on Cinsault – known in South Africa as Hermitage. The lore is fuzzy, but it seems he abandoned the project, leaving behind just four seeds for a student – who planted them and produced wine in 1941. Today, it’s the national grape of South Africa, winning fans around the world.

This luscious wine has aromas of raspberry, cherry, and plum followed by a unique brambly red fruit and hints of earth. Medium-bodied with fine tannins and a long, fruit-filled finish.

A Cellar 503 selection in September 2017, Back to school: Unusual Varietals Rogue Valley | Pinotage

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