It’s International Pinotage Day on October 14th so here are 6 ways to celebrate our Proudly South African grape. Created as a crossing in 1925 by Professor Perold, it takes the best elements of Pinot Noir and Cinsault and combines them into an incredibly versatile and flexible grape. You can find it in a variety of different styles so here are a few to try this weekend.
Bubbly – Allée Bleue Brut Rosé 2014 (R130 cellar door)
Traditionally Champagne is made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but when you’re making MCC – why not go the extra South African step? This is made from 58% Pinot Noir but the balance is all Pinotage. It’s spent 18 months on the lees so still remains fresh and fruity with a crisp dry finish. Plenty of elegance and lots of flavours plus a pretty colour to boot!
Everyday – Stellenbosch Vineyards Bushvine Pinotage 2015 (R90)
I feel a bit bad calling this ‘everyday’ cos it’s not exactly an ordinary wine! It just did really well in the Absa Top Ten competition and has long been a favourite for sheer drinkability and pleasure. It’s made in a fruit-forward style with a hint of coffee and chocolate coming from the oak, but the tannins are soft and juicy and the wine overall is fresh and appetizing. And the price? That’s the bit that makes it ‘everyday’ – fantastic value for money!
Pink – Delheim Pinotage Rosé 2017 (R69 cellar door)
For the first time this year, the Pinotage Association held a Pinotage Pink competition and this was one of the finalists. No real surprises – Pinotage has much potential to be a great pink – lashings of colour from the skins and plenty of flavour from the grapes themselves. This is a lovely example, spiced up with a tweak of Muscat to enhance the delicate flowery red fruit notes of the wine.
For the longterm – Kanonkop Pinotage 2015 (R350 cellar door)
No-one has done more to raise the profile of Pinotage than Kanonkop and their seriously styled-Pinotages are generally considered benchmark wines. But what you might not know is that they are not just good for drinking now, they can also last for a long time. Kanonkop has a programme of releasing cellared wines 10 years after vintage and for a paltry R130 extra, you can buy the 2008 (released this December) combining delicious black fruit with wonderful flavours of leather, spice and earth.
Cool-climate – Ashbourne Pinotage 2015 (R750)
You normally associate Hamilton Russell with Pinot Noir but if you spend any time at all in the company of Anthony Hamilton Russell, you’ll realise that actually, he’s pretty fanatical about Pinotage as well. This one is a stellar example – and I don’t use that word lightly. It comes from the cool Hemel-en-Aarde Valley where the sea breezes slow down ripening, making for a truly elegant example with layers of black and red fruit, offset by subtle, supportive oak and a racy acidity.
Blend – Bosman Family Vineyards Erfenis 2015 (R400)
A Cape Red Blend is generally defined as containing 30% Pinotage and this one just slips into this category, combining it with a combination of other delicious black grapes. It’s a recent winner at the Absa Cape Blend Top Ten – thoroughly-deserved – and makes use of fruit from Wellington, arguably one of SA’s top Pinotage regions. Lovely, dense and chewy with excellent length and concentration – throw the steak on the braai!
But what does one choose to pair with such an expressive wine? We have listed five of our favourite meals to enjoy with a glass of Pinotage this winter. Pinotage is a national treasure of South Africa. It is something we are immensely proud of and is known internationally as South Africa’s signature red wine grape.