The Pinotage Collection

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What is Pinotage

Pinotage is a red wine grape variety that was created in South Africa in 1924. It produces smoky, bramble and earthy flavours sometimes with banana and tropical fruit notes. Pinotage is sometimes criticised for smelling like nail polish remover.

Pinotage is known in the wine world as a man-made creation as opposed to having occurred naturally. The wine had a bad reputation for a long time, but many winemakers have worked together to reduce crop yields and used careful winemaking techniques to manage the unique grape.

What is Pinotage

Pinotage is a red wine grape variety that was created in South Africa in 1924. It produces smoky, bramble and earthy flavours sometimes with banana and tropical fruit notes. Pinotage is sometimes criticised for smelling like nail polish remover.

Pinotage is known in the wine world as a man-made creation as opposed to having occurred naturally. The wine had a bad reputation for a long time, but many winemakers have worked together to reduce crop yields and used careful winemaking techniques to manage the unique grape.

History of Pinotage

Pinotage was cultivated in South Africa in 1925 as a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault. Abraham Izak Perold was attempting to combine the best qualities of Hermitage with Pinot Noir, a grape that makes great wine but can be difficult to grow. The first Pinotage wine was made in 1941 at Elsenburg with the first commercial plantings done at Myrtle Grove.

Pinotage Wines remained unknown until Beyers Truter from Kanonkop won the 1987 Diner's Club Wine of the Year for his Pinotage. Since then, Pinotage has experienced a renaissance in South Africa with increasing numbers of producers expressing different varieties of the wine.

Now, aside from South Africa, Pinotage is also grown in other wine regions such as Brazil, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and the United States among others. In New Zealand alone, there are 94 acres of the planted grape.

Pinotage is widely grown in the bush vines of Western Cape, South Africa where it's produced in both single varietal and Cape Blend wines, where it's blended with Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. Many winemakers in South Africa will ferment the wines fast and hot and then finish the fermentation separated from the skins as the notes of Pinotage are rich in tannin, anthocyanin and cyanidin.

Taste Profile

Pinotage has a dense red colour with bold flavour notes such as plum sauce, tobacco, blackberry, burnt tar and liquorice.

Pinotage offers a vibrant fresh red fruit aroma. Oak-aged bottles can also give off vanilla and spice, while aged Pinnotage can give off hints of leather, smoked meat, and chocolate.

Pinotage can be full-bodied and tannic to taste. The best vintages give off red fruit flavours such as raspberry, liquorice and red bell peppers to the palate.

There are also other flavours than fruit, such as rooibos, dried leaves, bacon, hoisin, and sweet pipe tobacco.

In terms of acidity, Pinotage is typically low acidity, so most winemakers will acidify their wines early on the fermentation process.

Food Pairings

Pinotage is best paired with a variety of dishes depending on its style. Pinotage with earthy undertones can be paired with roasted duck or mushroom risotto. A full-bodied Pinotage, on the other hand, is best paired with braised short ribs or pepper-crusted steak which are robust.

Pinotage also tastes good with smoky and charred food like barbecue, so you can try it with slow-cooked meats, charred vegetables or anything grilled.

Avoid delicate and light food with a full-bodied Pinotage as the wine may overwhelm the food.


How is Pinotage best served?

Pinotage is best served at cellar temperature, preferably between 60-68°F / 15-20°C to best amplify its aroma without highlighting the alcohol.

South African wines have almost a 400-year-long history, produced from the region's indigenous and unique, exotic and tropical flavours. If you want to try out a high-quality South African red wine, Message In A Bottle has a wide collection of red wines where you can choose the perfect bottle for you.