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Pinotage

Learn about Pinotage — taste profile, popular regions and more …

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A distinctively earthy and rustic variety, Pinotage is South Africa’s signature grape. In 1924 viticulturists crossed finicky Pinot Noir and productive, heat-tolerant Cinsault, and created, surprisingly, a variety both darker and bolder than either of its parents. Today Pinotage is a popular South African export both as a single varietal wine and in Cape blends. It is grown very minimally outside of South Africa.

Tasting Notes for Pinotage

Pinotage is a dry, red wine with an unmistakable bouquet. Common descriptors include tobacco, smoke, tar, bacon, licorice, hoisin sauce and the dark fruits of plum and blackberry. The flavors are bold, and tannins are firm but ripe—in fact, many Pinotage wines bear more resemblance to Australian Shiraz than to Pinot Noir.

Perfect Food Pairings for Pinotage

For a wine this powerful, food should be equally bold, and gets bonus points for mirroring Pinotage’s sweet and sour flavors. Classic smoky South African braai (barbecue) is the most obvious match, while grilled curry sausage, lamb biryani or richly spiced beef stew would be equally welcome.

Sommelier Secrets for Pinotage

The name “Pinotage” is a subtle portmanteau: The Pinot part is obvious, but the second half is a bit confusing. In the early 1900s, Cinsault was known in South Africa as “Hermitage”—hence Pinotage. The somewhat less appealing “Herminoir” was also considered.

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  • Kanonkop Pinotage 2018  Front Label
    Kanonkop Pinotage 2018
    Pinotage from Stellenbosch, South Africa
    • V93
    • RP90
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  • Braai Pinotage 2019  Front Label
    Braai Pinotage 2019
    Pinotage from South Africa
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    • Barista Pinotage 2020  Front Label
      Barista Pinotage 2020
      Pinotage from South Africa
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      • Beaumont Pinotage 2017  Front Label
        Beaumont Pinotage 2017
        Pinotage from South Africa
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        • Painted Wolf The Den Pinotage 2019  Front Label
          Painted Wolf The Den Pinotage 2019
          Pinotage from South Africa
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          • Painted Wolf Guillermo Pinotage 2018  Front Label
            Painted Wolf Guillermo Pinotage 2018
            Pinotage from Swartland, South Africa
            • D92
            3.6 9 Ratings
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          • Lievland Pinotage 2018  Front Label
            Lievland Pinotage 2018
            Pinotage from South Africa
            • RP89
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