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South African Pinotage

South African flagship grape with rustic red and dark fruit, spice, and earthy notes.

The offspring of Pinot Noir and Cinsault, this dark fruit-led wine is produced across South Africa in everything from easy-drinking styles to deep, complex wines that can age with the best of them. Pinotage also leads in Bordeaux-inspired blends. 

From its creation out of a Pinot Noir and Cinsault crossing in 1925 in university town Stellenbosch to its renaissance in recent years, this young wine has had a few ups and downs. It was planted by a viticulture professor in his back yard then forgotten until a decade on when a researcher came across the unkempt vines. After this discovery, Pinotage was widely planted because it produced such high yields. The downside was decades of uninteresting to near undrinkable table wines. Political tensions in South Africa didn’t help winemaking in general and poor Pinotage had a dire reputation among wine critics and consumers alike. Happily, this has reversed in leaps and bounds with ambitious vintners determined to bring the best out of this variety. Today, wine lovers enjoy a range of powerful reds in single grape wines and Cape Blends with Bordeaux varieties.

Fun Fact: The name Pinotage reflects its parents, Pinot Noir and Cinsault. The latter was known as Hermitage in South Africa and together they create the portmanteau Pinotage.

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