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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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  • Nederburg Pinotage Paarl 1999
    Pinotage from South Africa
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      Currently Unavailable $10.49
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      10 49
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      Zonnebloem Pinotage 1999
      Pinotage from South Africa
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        Currently Unavailable $10.99
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        10 99
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      • Clos Malverne Pinotage 1999
        Pinotage from South Africa
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          Currently Unavailable $8.99
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        • KWV Pinotage 1999
          Pinotage from South Africa
          • WE86
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          Currently Unavailable $12.99
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          12 99
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        • Fleur du Cap Pinotage 1999
          Pinotage from South Africa
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            Currently Unavailable $11.99
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            Spice Route Flagship Pinotage 1999
            Pinotage from South Africa
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              Currently Unavailable $24.99
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              24 99
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              Backsberg Pinotage 1999
              Pinotage from South Africa
              • WS86
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              Currently Unavailable $12.99
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              12 99
              12 99
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              Wildekrans Pinotage Walker Bay Barrel Select 1999
              Pinotage from South Africa
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                Currently Unavailable $28.99
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                28 99
                28 99
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              • Kanonkop Pinotage 1999
                Pinotage from South Africa
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                  Currently Unavailable $29.99
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                  29 99
                  29 99
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                  Baobab Pinotage 1999
                  Pinotage from South Africa
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                    Currently Unavailable $10.99
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                    12 49
                    10 99
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