Did you know? Saturday, 9th of October was International Pinotage Day! We don’t blame you if you missed it with this lovely weather … and who needs a reason to enjoy this popular South African wine!
Pinotage is a proudly South African creation by Prof Abraham Izak Perold in 1925 when he successfully crossed the noble varietal Pinot Noir and the rustic Cinsaut (known in South Africa as Hermitage at the time). The name was a simple crossing of the first half of Pinot Noir and the end of Hermitage giving us Pinotage.
Pinotage inherited a hardiness that thrives in the South African heat, offering wines that are robust in colour and flavour with the potential of refinement. The vine’s growth has moderate to good vigour with large, oblong dark green leaves and five lobes. The grape bunches are of a medium size and compact with berries that are generally small, with some variability, and blue-black skins.
Of the Pinotage’s parents this vine inherited the robustness of the Cinsault that helps it thrive in South Africa’s hot summers and offer deep coloured and full-bodied wines. Along with this it also inherited the potential of finesse from Pinot Noir.
Pinotage had a rough start with difficult characteristics that needed balancing! These included red fruits, currents, and banana on one hand and a polarising intense acetone on the other. After exploring the potential, viticulturists and wine makers learnt how to bring the best of this new varietal out. It started making a name for itself with the first barrel being made in 1941 and Bellevue being awarded best wine at the Cape Young Wines Show in 1959. In 1987 Diner’s Club Winemaker of the Year was dedicated to Pinotage and in 1991 the Kanonkop Pinotage won the Robert Mondavi Trophy as the Best Red Wine at the International Wine and Spirits Competition.
Pinotage has since been identified as a valuable contribution to the world of wine and is now grown internationally in the US, South America, New Zealand, Israel, and Germany to name a few. Wine critics see it as a truly South African varietal with great potential.
Ken Forrester offers the easy drinking Petit Pinotage, as you pour this wine you will see the unmistakeable hints of purple which Pinotage is renowned for. On the nose you get pleasing spiced mulberries, plum pudding, and cherries with a hint of smokiness, the first sip brings all these aromas alive in a soft and juicy way. This unwooded Pinotage is immediately accessible and pleasing on every sip making it a perfect spring and summer time red wine. Think of sipping this wine slightly chilled by the pool and it effortlessly steps up to pair with a relaxed sunny afternoon braai with friends and family.