Considering how Pinotage-centric South Africans are, it is unsurprising that the variety is native to SA. It is the only grape variety that originates here, making it a Proudly South African grape. But where did it all start, and what should you expect from this variety?
Pinotage was first created in 1925 by Dr Abraham Izak Perold, who crossed two other grape varieties, Pinot Noir and Cinsault (then also known as Hermitage.) His aim with this crossing was to reap the high yields that Cinsault offers, with the delicate, flavoursome Pinot Noir traits.
The variety was seemingly forgotten about for several years. It wasn’t until 1943 that the variety was planted for commercial purposes, and it wasn’t until 1959 that international critics recognised the variety. Since then, the grape flourished all of South Africa and is even grown in countries like New Zealand and the USA.
The Many Pinotage Styles
There has been a significant misconception (especially with international consumers) that Pinotage has an overwhelming coffee-chocolate aroma and flavour. The truth is, Pinotage is an exceptionally fruity wine with immense character and complexity. Unfortunately, many winemakers have aged Pinotage in specific barrels to create this mocha characteristic in the wine. While the mocha-traits was once an appealing style, more consumers are moving away from that version of the wine.
Pinotage styles range from light, fruity and easy-drinking, to intense and structured and are also commonly used in blends. The most common blend used for Pinotage is the South African Cape Blend, where the blend is Pinotage-based.
The Rosendal Barony Bonne Pinotage is an excellent example of how structured and complex the variety can be. The wine offers intense aromas of cocoa, blueberries and intense spice. On the palate, the wine is vibrant with juicy cherry and plum flavours, followed by ripe, subtle tannins and unmatched structure.
This wine works well as a sipping wine but works extraordinarily well with BBQ meat (as does our Barony August Cabernet) or as the perfect companion to dark chocolate truffles.