Unpolished Grape Series: Pinotage


Pinotage is a relatively new, man-made black grape variety from South Africa. It is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, both black grapes originally from France. It is made as both a single variety and blend. The famous “Cape Blend” of South Africa is a mix of Pinotage grapes and international varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah grapes.

This black grape is full-bodied with low acid, high alcohol, and medium-high tannins. It can be made light and fruity, or oaked and intense. The primary fruit flavors are Cherry, Raspberry and Strawberry and with hints of secondary sweet spice and cedar from barrel-aging. Sometimes specialized fermentation yeasts add intense flavors of espresso and coffee beans on the nose and palate to create a unique cross between wine and coffee. Bottle-aged Pinotage can go on to develop additional tertiary flavors of sweet tobacco and chocolate.

Food Pairings

Pinotage pairs well with heavy meats including steak, beef, venison, lamb, pork, burgers, and sausages. In addition, it compliments tasty and flavorful sauces such as barbecue, teriyaki, rich gravys, and curries. It is often enjoyed alongside roasted vegetables and meaty pastas.


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2 thoughts on “Unpolished Grape Series: Pinotage

  1. Wine with a hint of tobacco, coffee or chocolate? Hhhmmm….I guess if it has enough alcohol in it I wouldn’t even notice those other “odd” flavors

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