South Africa’s signature grape, Pinotage, is a black grape variety that produces intense, smokey and deep coloured red wines. Think open fire in a wood panelled study.
The variety was created by Professor Abraham Izak Perold in 1925 by crossing Pinot Noir and Cinsault (a grape variety from Rhône in Southern France) to suit South Africa’s hot climate.
Pinotage is grown across all of the wine growing regions in South Africa , totalling about 7% of all plantings. It is used to make single variety wines but it is also often added to ‘Cape Blends’ with with Bordeaux grape varieties.
Pinotage wines are made in a range of styles - full bodied and rich, made from old, bush-trained vines (spiced berries blackberry and mulberry), as well as large volume, light and fruity (strawberry, raspberry and cherry). With fermentation/ageing with oak, the wines can have notes of smoke, leather, coffee and chocolate. Delish.
With all of its interesting qualities and flavours, Pinotage can be a difficult wine to get right - Pinotage has suffered from a bit of an image problem in the past, but with improvements in both the vineyard and in winemaking, quality has risen. Pinotage vines were first planted in 1941 at Kanonkop Estate, which is still regarded as one of the best producers, and is one of our personal favourites - a very good place to start your very own Pinotage journey!
Swing by our South African wine collection and pick yourself up some Pinotage today!
Remember to check out future posts about some the best grape varieties grown across the New World. You heard it first here on the Oh Grape Vine!