What is Pinotage?

Pinotage is a red grape variety created in South Africa that has long polarised opinion, although improved handling has proved it is capable of making high quality, distinctive wines.

What does Pinotage taste like?

Pinotage can range stylistically from rosés and lighter reds showing fragrant, lively raspberry and pomegranate fruit with crunchy acidity right through to considerably richer, meatier, black fruited expressions with a spiced, chocolatey, smoke-infused character. A few Pinotage examples still show unappetising aromas of burnt rubber, bananas and paint stripper. A trend for “Coffee Pinotage” endures, which uses oak in a way that creates pronounced mocha or coffee flavours.

Where is Pinotage from?

Pinotage was created in the 1920s by Stellenbosch University’s Professor of Viticulture Abraham Perold, who crossed Pinot Noir with Cinsault, then known locally as Hermitage. Pinotage was supposed to combine the finesse of Pinot Noir with Cinsault’s hardiness and productivity.
 

Where does Pinotage grow?

Pinotage is grown primarily in South Africa and, after a slow start, has now been embraced across the country’s wine regions, appearing either as a standalone variety or as part of a Cape Blend. Pinotage also has a small presence in other countries, most notably New Zealand, California and Israel.

Famous Pinotage regions:

Stellenbosch, Swartland & Walker Bay, South Africa

Anything else?

Although Pinotage was created in the 1920s, its name didn’t appear on a commercial label until Stellenbosch producer Lanzerac released their pioneering 1959 vintage Pinotage in 1961.

Our selection of great Pinotage

-   Kanonkop, Stellenbosch

-   Beeslaar, Stellenbosch

-   Hamilton Russell, Walker Bay

-   Spioenkop, Elgin

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