Pinotage is the national grape of South Africa and combines the best of two grape varieties
The origin of the Pinotage grape can be traced back to the South African government, which commissioned the former head of the Department of Viticulture at Stellenbosch University to revive South African wine culture. Professor Abraham Izak Perold crossed the grape varieties Cinsault and Pinot Noir at the beginning of the twentieth century. He thus laid the foundation for today's South African national grape, Pinotage. The grape variety combines the robustness of Cinsault with the berry taste of Pinot Noir. The name Pinotage is a combination of the grape varieties Pinot Noir and Hermitage - a common name for the Cinsault grape.
Pinotage - Strong vine with high potential
The Pinotage vine is considered robust and adaptable and is cultivated in the wine-growing regions of Stellenbosch, Paarl, Swartland, Olifants River and Breedekloof. The typical South African red wines convince with a soft character, a velvety structure and an enormous development potential. Deep dark red in colour, a Pinotage brings fruity berry aromas and notes of mocha, chocolate, a fine spice and vanilla. In addition to single-varietal wines, excellent Pinotage-dominated cuvées are also produced, the so-called Cape Blends. The taste of the grape is also suitable for rosé wines, as the fruity Pinotage creations convince with notes of cherries, plums and raspberries. Although Pinotage is considered South Africa's national grape, wine countries such as New Zealand, California and Canada now also grow the red grape variety in small quantities.
The best Pinotage producers in South Africa
While the first Pinotage barrel produced in 1925 still had the name "Perold's Hermitage x Pinot", the grape variety was introduced to the public only in the 1959s by the Lanzerac winery under the official name Lanzerac Pinotage. Over time, the grape variety went through ups and downs and no less than winemaking icon Beyers Truter, then at the Kanonkop winery, put a lot of effort into the further development of Pinotage even in his younger years. In 1991, his efforts were rewarded and at the International Wines and Spirits Competition (IWSC) in London, Kanonkop Pinotage was awarded as the Best Red Wine - it was the first time a Pinotage won at an international wine competition – and Beyers Truter nominated himself as International Winemaker of the Year with this success. Since then, the grape variety has also enjoyed international popularity and it is impossible to imagine South African viticulture without it. Today, many wineries have specialised in the grape variety and get the best out of the grape and terroir. Wineries such as Lanzerac, Beyerskloof, Kanonkop and L'Avenir are first-class addresses when it comes to Pinotage.