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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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  • KWV Pinotage 2002 Front Label
    KWV Pinotage 2002
    Pinotage from South Africa
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    • Zonnebloem Pinotage 2002
      Pinotage from South Africa
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      • Fairview Pinotage 2002 Front Label
        Fairview Pinotage 2002
        Pinotage from South Africa
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        • Warwick Estate Pinotage 2002 Front Label
          Warwick Estate Pinotage 2002
          Pinotage from South Africa
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          • Indaba Pinotage 2002 Front Label
            Indaba Pinotage 2002
            Pinotage from South Africa
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            • Grangehurst Stellenbosch Pinotage 2002 Front Label
              Grangehurst Stellenbosch Pinotage 2002
              Pinotage from Stellenbosch, South Africa
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              • Graham Beck Robertson Pinno Pinotage 2002  Front Label
                Graham Beck Robertson Pinno Pinotage 2002
                Pinotage from Robertson, South Africa
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                • Kumkani Pinotage 2002 Front Label
                  Kumkani Pinotage 2002
                  Pinotage from Stellenbosch, South Africa
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                  • Slaley Broken Stone Pinotage 2002 Front Label
                    Slaley Broken Stone Pinotage 2002
                    Pinotage from Stellenbosch, South Africa
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                    • Avontuur Estate Stellenbosch Pinotage 2002 Front Label
                      Avontuur Estate Stellenbosch Pinotage 2002
                      Pinotage from Stellenbosch, South Africa
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