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Pinotage

A distinctively earthy and rustic variety ...

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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.

In the Glass

There is no mistaking the smell of Pinotage—common descriptors include tobacco, smoke, tar, bacon, licorice, hoisin sauce and 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 Pairings

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 Secret

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 2017 Front Label
    Kanonkop Pinotage 2017
    Pinotage from Stellenbosch, South Africa
    • TA94
    • JS93
    • D90
    4.6 37 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $43.99
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    43 99
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  • Braai Pinotage 2018  Front Label
    Braai Pinotage 2018
    Pinotage from South Africa
      4.4 20 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $18.99
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      18 99
      18 99
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    • MAN Vintners Pinotage 2018  Front Label
      MAN Family Wines Pinotage 2018
      Pinotage from South Africa
        3.7 6 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $10.99
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        10 99
        10 99
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      • Southern Right Pinotage 2019  Front Label
        Southern Right Pinotage 2019
        Pinotage from South Africa
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $29.99
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          29 99
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        • Painted Wolf The Den Pinotage 2018  Front Label
          Painted Wolf The Den Pinotage 2018
          Pinotage from South Africa
            3.2 5 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $13.99
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            13 99
            13 99
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          • Beaumont Pinotage 2016  Front Label
            Beaumont Pinotage 2016
            Pinotage from South Africa
            • TA90
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $34.99
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            34 99
            34 99
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