Pinotage Day , 8 October 2016

8 October marks international Pinotage Day, a day dedicated to Pinotage (South Africa’s heritage grape which emits delicious aromas of ripe cherries, rooibos tea and liquorice). The wine pairs extremely well with almost any food due to its rich chocolate flavor. It is currently one of the most widely planted local cultivars and has, over the years, gained international recognition. Its fascinating story begins right here in South Africa and can be considered a Proudly South African brand!

The Pinotage History

The grape is a cross breed between Pinot Noir and Hermitage (AKA Cinsaut) masterminded by Prof. Abraham Izak Perold who, in 1925, reaped and planted only 4 seedlings in his back garden in Stellenbosch. Two years later the Professor left his home for a new position in Paarl, abandoning the project. Luckily Dr. Charlie Nieuhaus stopped a garden clean-up crew from destroying the young saplings and moved them to the University’s nursery programme to study further.

Professor Perold was born in Cape Town in 1880 and obtained his BA Degree in Maths, Physics and Chemistry. He travelled extensively to Europe, being tasked with extending the range of grapes in the Cape. He returned with 177 varietals and became the Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture at Stellenbosch University. He later joined KWV where he made huge contributions to the wine industry in South Africa.

The first commercial plantings of Pinotage were on the farm Myrtle Grove near Sir Lowry’s Pass in 1943 and the wine was made with a normal wine making method. The wine proved to be more full bodied and encompassed a more intense colour than other varietals. However, it had a more acetone like vinosity which was not well received by everyone. This tended to disappear after two years of maturation and the wine took on a softer, rounder palate which we know and love today.

The name Pinotage was first used on the 1959 Lanzerac Pinotage in 1961 and the cultivar started gaining steam when the Morkels from Bellevue won the prize for best wine at the 1959 Cape Young Wine Show. Kanonkop’s late Senator, Paul Sauer also took huge strides in making the cultivar more popular.  Interestingly, Pinotage’s popularity dropped substantially in the 80’s and it was only when 1990 rolled around that interest in the grapes regenerated.

Pinotage Today

In celebration of International Pinotage Day, we have picked our favourite Pinotages, which can all be found right here at Cybercellar.

David Nadia Pinotage

From one of the most loved estates in the Swartland comes this beautiful Pinotage which has received a lot of recognition and awards. Rated 91 points in the Tim Atkin report, this wine has undergone underwent spontaneous fermentation of which partial carbonic and also whole bunches during the three week’s skin contact.

 

Lanzerac Premium Pinotage

This has to get a special mention for being the first estate to label it Pinotage. A Michelangelo Trophy winner, this wine will take five to ten years start to acquire the velvet density and luxurious chocolate and caramel flavours of its very early Lanzerac predecessors.

 

De Waal Wines Top of the Hill Pinotage

Receiving a Platter 4.5 star, this Pinotage is an exquisitely dark wine with intense dark fruit character. The Top of the Hill Pinotage reveals harmonious balance within an elegantly structured tannic backbone. This premium red is an excellent portrayal of varietal hallmarks.

 

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Kanonkop Black Label Pintoage

From one of the oldest Pinotage vineyards in South Africa comes this rich and delicious red. With strong spice, liquorices and black fruit hallmarks, this is the perfect investment Pinotage. This quote can be found above the doorway at Kanonkop: “Pinotage is the juice extracted from women’s tongues and lions’ hearts. After having a sufficient quantity one can talk forever and fight the devil”

 

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