Did you know?
According to the Pinotage Association, pinotage is best stored between 10º and 16ºC, and best served between 16º and 18ºC.
Pinotage is a cross-pollination of 2 grape cultivars, pinot noir and cinsaut, formerly called 'hermitage'. Developed in 1925 by South African viticulturalist, the late Professor Abraham Izak Perold, pinotage was one of many experimental cross blends that were trialed at that time. In fact, the only 4 pinotage vines in existence almost ended up on the bonfire.
Fortunately for pinotage fans, the vines and their seedlings were rescued as they were about to be destroyed. These were later propagated (in 1941) at Welgevallen experimental nursery in Stellenbosch by Professor CJ Theron, who also produced the very first pinotage wine. Regrettably, Professor Perold died that same year without having a chance to taste the wine.
Today pinotage is 1 of the 4 most widely planted red grape cultivars in South Africa. Robust and easy growing with good yields, pinotage is most planted in the regions of the Swartland/Darling, Stellenbosch, Paarl and Wellington - followed by Breedekloof, Worcester, Olifants River, and Robertson. Top producers include Kanonkop, KWV, Fairview, Beyerskloof, Clos Malverne, Anura, Altydgedagt, Kaapzicht, L’Avenir, Stellenzicht and Spier.
Styles of pinotage include wooded and unwooded, young and fruity, or rich and full bodied. Typically, pinotage makes up 30% of a Cape blend, and the wine also shows its enormous versatility by appearing in blanc de noir wines, fortified port-style sweet dessert wines, sparkling wines and brandies.
The typical characteristics of pinotage depend on the style in which it is produced. In turn this is dependent on the terroir, clone and rootstock, stage of ripening, and vinification of the grapes. In appearance, pinotage can vary from deep ruby to crimson to brick red.
Young pinotage typically exhibits plum and berry flavours. Certain wines have banana/mango or sweet spice aromas. Pinotage ages well for 10 years and more, and as it softens the wine develops a mellower profile with elements of prunes, cassis and blackberries. Maturation in oak barrels can add cedar, vanilla and toasted flavours to it.
In the past few years, prominent coffee/mocha flavours are being found in certain styles of pinotage wines. These emanate from a specific oak regime used during the vinification process. The first pinotage wine of this style was produced by Bertus Fourie at Diemersfontein in 2001, and 'coffee pinotage' as it is known has become a cult wine, with many imitators.
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Who to contact
Pinotage Association of South Africa
Contact: Sandra Nel
Tel: +27 (0)21 886-4867
Fax: +27 (0)21 883-8965