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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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  • Zonnebloem Pinotage 2003 Front Label
    Zonnebloem Pinotage 2003
    Pinotage from South Africa
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    • Fairview Pinotage 2003 Front Label
      Fairview Pinotage 2003
      Pinotage from South Africa
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      • Graham Beck Pinotage 2003
        Pinotage from South Africa
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        • Bergsig Pinotage 2003 Front Label
          Bergsig Pinotage 2003
          Pinotage from South Africa
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          • Kumkani Pinotage 2003 Front Label
            Kumkani Pinotage 2003
            Pinotage from South Africa
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            • Nitida Pinotage 2003 Front Label
              Nitida Pinotage 2003
              Pinotage from South Africa
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              • Simonsig Pinotage 2003 Front Label
                Simonsig Pinotage 2003
                Pinotage from South Africa
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              • Kanonkop Pinotage 2003 Front Label
                Kanonkop Pinotage 2003
                Pinotage from South Africa
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                • Warwick Estate Pinotage 2003 Front Label
                  Warwick Estate Pinotage 2003
                  Pinotage from South Africa
                  • WE88
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                • KWV Pinotage 2003
                  Pinotage from South Africa
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                  • Avontuur Estate Stellenbosch Pinotage 2003 Front Label
                    Avontuur Estate Stellenbosch Pinotage 2003
                    Pinotage from Stellenbosch, South Africa
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                    • Slaley Broken Stone Pinotage 2003 Front Label
                      Slaley Broken Stone Pinotage 2003
                      Pinotage from Stellenbosch, South Africa
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