Love it or hate it but don’t ignore it, Pinotage is the taste of South Africa. A wild and aggressively fruited cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut as old as Jay Gatsby, it can also make wines of incredible finesse and complexity with old Lanzerac vintages from the sixties pure Burgundy, blind. First bottled 50 years ago, it has been something of a local hero ever since.
Made in a variety of different styles from light, fresh and fruity rosés to dikvoet traditional cuvées fermented in open cement tanks. From Darling to De Rust, the Groot Gariep to Agulhas, all bases are covered and no bushes are left unbeaten around.
A versatile dining companion, some of the Cape’s most famous chefs recommend novel pairings. Pete Goffe-Wood proposes Tukulu with a Thanksgiving turkey with all the trimmings and Bruce Robertson suggests a smiley (boiled sheep’s head) with a Pinotage from the Stables in KwaZulu-Natal. Kitchen versatility is taken to the limits and then some.
Pinotage is the USP of a broader SA wine industry and a unique calling card that anyone remotely interested in the fermented fruit of the vine should try at least once before they die. Our selection:
Top Ten Terroir Pinotages
1.) Bergsig, 2010, Breedekloof
Minerality, chocolate, fresh red berries with an elegant texture.
2.) Durbanville Hills Rhinofields, 2011, Durbanville
Lively fruit cinnamon spice and charry oak. Dried prunes and candied red fruit. Floral fresh notes. Pleasant sucrosity, elegant. A gourmand wine.
3.) Fairview Primo, 2010, Paarl
Exotic nose, elegant, sweetly fruited, floral with an underlying chalky minerality.
4.) Kanonkop, 2010, Stellenbosch
Intense, dense, classy, huge length, pastille style.
5.) Lanzerac Pionier, 2009, Stellenbosch
The perfect pinotage: intense red cherry flavours, dense and spicy.
6.) Lutzville Pinotage, 2010, Namaqualand
A real crowd pleaser. Toasty, green banana, ripe red fruit, sweet spices. Elegant, sugary and fresh.
7.) Neil Ellis Vineyard Selection, 2010, Stellenbosch
Toasty oak, redcurrants and mulberries, raspberry jam and chocolate.
8.) Rijk’s, 2008, Tulbagh
Sweet and spicy oak, dried stone fruit.
9.) Wellington Wines La Cave, 2010, Wellington
Complex, black plums, densely fruited.
10.) Wildekrans Reserve, 2010, Bot River.
Minty berries, black plums and candied red fruit. Superior oak management and seamless balance.