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Pinotage Wine Varietal Definition

Môreson vineyards in South Africa

People don’t often come across a bottle of Pinotage unless they live in South Africa where most of this rare varietal is produced. There are some efforts in New Zealand, Brazil and California, but your best bet will be to find a specimen from the land of the Rand. Back in 1925, Stellenbosch University viticulturist Abraham Izak Perold experimented with Pinot Noir and Cinsault (Hermitage), and successfully crossed the two. (The name combines the first part of “Pinot Noir” and the last part of “Hermitage.”) But it was not until the 60s that wine produced with the rustic varietal showed up on shelves. Typically these wines are robust with a deep red color and a distinct flavor. Just like any good product, a quality Pinotage can be a rewarding experience, but until now the varietal has mostly been associated with cheap wines. It is definitely a food wine that pairs well with game.

See our Top Pinotage reviews
Learn about other varietals

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(Updated: 11/19/12 JLD)

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