Classic aromas of Pinotage are: Strawberry, Raspberry, Red Plum, Raspberry Jam and Green Capsicum
Pinotage is a red grape variety from South Africa. It was one of the most successful, non-natural, grape-cross in recent history. It was bred in 1925 by Abraham Izak Perold in Stellenbosch. It is a cross of Pinot Noir and Cinsault – with the idea of gaining the floral aromatics and complexities of Pinot Noir with the heat-hardiness of Cinsault.
Sadly Pinotage has had numerous problems with vine diseases over the 1960-90s that has meant many examples of Pinotage were leafy, tannic and not all that good at all. This lead to many producers burying their heads in shame of the low quality and turning their Pinotage grapes into a Port-style wine or brandy.
Recent years have seen a few dedicated winemakers lead a Pinotage revolution who have helped to put not just Pinotage into the limelight, but South Africa’s wine culture as a whole. Overall there is 6,088ha of Pinotage in South Africa – 6% of the total vineyard area.
Due to the confusion of Pinotage’s quality worldwide it hasn’t travelled too far – with very small plantings in Brazil, New Zealand and California.
Pinotage gives wines that have a medium body with moderate acidity and tannins. The best examples will have aromas of blackberry, red and black plums, damson, wild raspberry and fresh strawberry notes. There will often be a highlight of herbaceousess.