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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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  • Riebeek Cellars Pinotage 2014 Front Label
    Riebeek Cellars Pinotage 2014
    Pinotage from South Africa
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    • Tormentoso Pinotage 2014 Front Label
      Tormentoso Pinotage 2014
      Pinotage from South Africa
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      • Warwick Estate Pinotage 2014 Front Label
        Warwick Estate Pinotage 2014
        Pinotage from South Africa
          4.4 14 Ratings
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        • Fairview Pinotage 2014 Front Label
          Fairview Pinotage 2014
          Pinotage from South Africa
            4.3 6 Ratings
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            Currently Unavailable $14.99
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          • MAN Family Wines Pinotage 2014 Front Label
            MAN Family Wines Pinotage 2014
            Pinotage from South Africa
              4.0 9 Ratings
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              Currently Unavailable $9.99
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            • Neil Ellis Pinotage 2014 Front Label
              Neil Ellis Pinotage 2014
              Pinotage from South Africa
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                Currently Unavailable $17.99
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