Discovering Pinotage, South Africa’s very own National Grape
If you must know only one wine from South Africa, this should be the one : Pinotage, the most famous South African wine! We tell you all about it.
An introduction to one of our favourite wines
Pinotage was created when a Viticulture Stellenbosch University professor crossed pinot noir with cinsaut (cinsaut is a red skinned grape which generally brings low tannin and perfume to its wines.) Many people loved it, many were less enthusiastic, but it is now one of South Africa’s most popular wines.
The Birth of the National Grape!
In 1925, the very first viticulture professor at the University of Stellenbosch; Abraham Izak Perold was tasked to extend the range of grapes that were found in the Cape Region. He paired two varietals and had amazing results: the grapes ripened early and had a higher sugar level than the usual grapes found in this region. They were resilient to the climate and showed fantastic results.
How the world learnt about Pinotage
The world of wine did not take lightly to this new variant of grape. It had to fight for its recognition in the world of wine lovers. It however was resilient. When Kanonkop’s Pinotage won the Robert Mondavi Trophy for the Best Red Wine at the 1991 International Wine and Spirits Competition in London that the South African varietal was acknowledged by the global community and wine lovers began taking Pinotage more seriously. Since then, it formed its own path and was officially welcomed into the international world of wine.
All about Pinotage:
Due to the misconceptions and unpopularity of Pinotage. An organisation was created ‘The Pinotage Club’ This organisation has taken the misconception and unpopular opinion and decided to educated wine makers and connoisseurs on just how amazing this wine is.
Pinotage wine has its very own day to celebrate just how awesome it is.
International Pinotage Day takes place on the 2nd Saturday of October annually.
Pinotage, the wine that has its own event!
Pinotage on tap was named the best wine event in the world by the 2014 Drinks International Wine Tourism Awards. The wine festival at Diemersfontein Wine Estate is dedicated to proving just how yummy the varietal can be when paired with the right venue and atmosphere. Since 2004, the shindig has given Pinotage lovers a reason to have a good time. The event has also grown so large that there is now a Durban and Johannesburg Pinotage on Tap
In case you missed it, white and bubbly Pinotage exist!
Given its history, it comes as no surprise that the red grape has inspired winemakers to be daring and come up with interesting wine spin-off styles. Mellasat Vineyards, near Paarl, has created the world’s very first white Pinotage while KWV’s Café Culture has added a coffee Pinotage bubbly to its range.
It has gone global.
The rest of the world is hopping onto the band wagon and more countries are growing the grapes to produce their own. Zimbabwe and New Zealand are now the largest Pinotage producers after South Africa.
The adaptable wine, what to pair it with.
Pinotage’s adaptability has made it a popular choice of wine to pair, there are different categorisations of Pinotage, though. A “lifestyle” Pinotage is medium-bodied, and it pairs well with game fish or a hearty bean soup, or even try it with sushi and sashimi, it says. Full-bodied Pinotage works well with venison or rich meat dishes, while well-wooded Pino often has chocolate tones associated with it and so could work well with that sweet – do not be shy give it a try!
Now we introduce you to a few Great South African Pinotage’s and what it is best paired with:
SPIER 2015 21 GABLES PINOTAGE
The name pays tribute to the farm’s 300-year winemaking heritage and unique architectural legacy: an unrivalled 21 Cape Dutch Gables. One of the cornerstones of this range is the Pinotage, which is barrel-fermented and matured, and central to South Africa’s vinous history.
Flavours of caramelised black cherries, hints of dark spice and dark chocolate. The full palate’s smooth entry is followed by rich fruit and velvety tannins.
|WE LOVE IT WITH||Braaied Lamb Ribs (Soutribbetjies)|
BEYERSKLOOF DIESEL PINOTAGE
Offering an abundance of exquisite vines on the farm, Beyerskloof is renowned for its broad range of world-class wines. Backed by a wealth of experience, the farmers tend to the vineyards to harvest the best quality grapes with their richness in texture and colour.
A big, structured Pinotage with intense dark fruit flavours. A deep middle lead to a smooth finish with pleasant chocolate/cedar aromas from the French oak. Great balance between fruit and oak will allow superb ageing in the bottle for 10 years and more. The ideal match to spicy Indian dishes or a well-matured rump/sirloin steak.
|WE LOVE IT WITH||Fillet Steak with Café au Lait Mushroom Sauce|
KANONKOP PINOTAGE 2015
Located on the slopes of Simonsberg, Kanonkop Estate is home to many of South Africa’s premium wines. The Estate’s unique name “Kanonkop” is derived from the word kopje, meaning hillock. In the 17th Century, a cannon was commonly fired from here to warn farmers of foreign sailing ships arriving in Cape Town.
|TASTING NOTES||Deep intense ruby red colour. A bold intensity of plum, red berries and dark chocolate.|
|WE LOVE IT WITH||Asian Pork Belly Kebabs with Sticky Plum Sauce|
Simonsvlei is a wine estate has a wealth of tradition and experience viticulture. Named after the legendary Simon van der Stel, Simonsvlei has ingrained its mark since the 17th Century. Upon such a foundation, Simonsvlei continues to innovate and propel the wine industry forward.
Ja-Mocha expresses overtones of dark chocolate and roasted coffee beans. It is a well-balanced dry red that is not overly fruity.
|WE LOVE IT WITH||Vegan Poppadoms with Spicy Vegetables With Crumbed Chicken-Style Nuggets|
Discover our wine route itinerary : https://www.africanhearttravel.com/tour/le-cap-gastronomique