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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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    Fairview Pinotage 2005
    Pinotage from South Africa
    • WS88
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    Currently Unavailable $15.99
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    Warwick Estate Pinotage 2011
    Pinotage from South Africa
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    Southern Right Pinotage 2007
    Pinotage from South Africa
    • WS90
    3.1 7 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $26.99
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    Ken Forrester Petit Pinotage 2010
    Pinotage from South Africa
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    • WS87
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    Kanonkop Pinotage 2014
    Pinotage from South Africa
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    • WS91
    • RP90
    4.2 6 Ratings
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    Warwick Estate Pinotage 2005
    Pinotage from South Africa
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    Baobab Pinotage 2001
    Pinotage from South Africa
    • WS88
    • WE88
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  • Simonsig Pinotage 2000
    Pinotage from South Africa
    • WS89
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    Painted Wolf Guillermo Pinotage 2009
    Pinotage from South Africa
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    Kanonkop Pinotage 2008
    Pinotage from South Africa
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    Backsberg Pinotage 1999
    Pinotage from South Africa
    • WS86
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    Fairview Primo Pinotage 2001
    Pinotage from South Africa
    • WS91
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    Southern Right Pinotage 2015
    Pinotage from South Africa
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    • WE91
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    4.5 6 Ratings
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    Spice Route Pinotage 2007
    Pinotage from South Africa
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    Currently Unavailable $19.99
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    23
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    Spice Route Pinotage 2012
    Pinotage from South Africa
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    Spice Route Pinotage 2006
    Pinotage from South Africa
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    3.8 6 Ratings
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    Indaba Pinotage 2001
    Pinotage from South Africa
    • WS85
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    Southern Right Pinotage 2014
    Pinotage from South Africa
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    Kanonkop Pinotage 2013
    Pinotage from South Africa
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    Kanonkop Pinotage 2005
    Pinotage from South Africa
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    Kanonkop Pinotage 2004
    Pinotage from South Africa
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    Simonsig Pinotage 2003
    Pinotage from South Africa
    • WS89
    • WE89
    3.0 6 Ratings
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    14
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