Celebrated every year on the second Saturday of October, International Pinotage Day celebrates this distinct red grape from South Africa. Noticing that the Pinot Noir grape struggled in South Africa’s climate, scientists at Stellenbosch University developed Pinotage in 1925, crossing Pinot Noir and Cinsaut. What they created is an intensely dark grape that throughout the years experienced some highs and lows and is now the second most planted grape in South Africa.
Bottled on its own, Pinotage is also a required element in “Cape blends” (30-70%). You will also see it as a rose’, a sparkling red and a port-style fortified wine. On its own, Pinotage will produce a bold fruity, tannic (dry) wine. On the nose you should get red fruits, cherry and plum and some earthiness or smoke. Flavors that should come through on the palate are red berries and plum. Pinotage pairs well with roasted turkey, game or dried meats and aged cheeses.
I discovered Pinotage a couple of years ago and will recommend it when someone is looking for a South African red or if they want to try something new and different. If you like your red wines bold, fruity and a little tannic, then pick up a bottle of Pinotage and have a very Happy International Pinotage Day!