Pinotage is a cross between pinot noir and cinsault (known then in South Africa as hermitage ) Abraham Izak Perold, who was the first Professor of Viticulture at Stellenbosch University can be thanked for bringing pinotage to life with an experimental crossing in his garden back in 1925. His aim was to create a wine that was as fine as pinot but as vigorous as cinsault. The results surprised everybody. Nothing like its parents, the grape was dark in colour and high in tannin.
Pinotage is loved for its dense red berry flavours, the wines can often present with dark floral aromas, dried herbs and spice. The best have a core of pure fruit with fine tannins, and a mineral tone, a full unctuous body, refreshing acidity and driven structure; pinotage can produce wines of complexity as well as more easy-drinking styles.
- Pinotage is largely no longer made in a heavy-handed, over-extracted style, with wines were wines showing banana, burnt rubber and acetone. This pretty much ruined pinotage’s reputation in the 90s , but now most producers vinify the grape with respect and are producing very fine wines indeed.
- The name ‘Pinotage’ first appeared on a wine label in 1961 on the 1959 Lanzerac Pinotage.
- It is now also cultivated in Zimbabwe, New Zealand, Switzerland, Germany, the US and Israel.
- The alternative name ‘Herminoir’ was considered.
- It shot to fame (instead of infamy) when Kanonkop’s Pinotage won the Robert Mondavi Trophy for the Best Red Wine at the 1991 International Wine and Spirits Competition
Browse our stocks of Pinotage right here, and… two of our favourites:
Môreson The Widow Maker, Pinotage 2017
Expect a deliciously rich and unashamedly full bodied wine packed full of juicy plum , black cherry and mocha flavours. Big enough to be a main course by itself but ideally suited to accompany a braai – a traditional South African BBQ.
Survivor, Pinotage, Swartland, 2017
A barrel-matured wine with rich and complex characteristics of dried prune, black plum jam and cherry complemented by elegant notes of smouldering cedar wood.