You have probably heard of chardonnay and merlot, but have you ever heard of Pinotage? It is not a well known grape, but sometimes lesser known varietals can be fun to try. Pinotage is a red grape that is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, both French grapes. Pinot Noir being the signature red grape from Burgundy and Cinsault from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. A South African Professor of Viticulture crossed the 2 grapes in 1925.
The grape does well in warmer areas, such as South Africa, but you can also find some growing in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia (and a few other regions around the world). A wine made from Pinotage has been said to have aromas of banana and tropical fruit. Sometimes it has a bit of a nailpolish remover aroma that turns off some people. Two South African winemakers that make a very good pinotage are Fairview (Primo Pinotage) and Saxenburg (Pinotage Private Collection). In the Okanagan, two wineries that produce pinotage are Stoneboat and Lake Breeze. Try it and see what you think. Nico van der Merwe of Saxenburg said at a tasting that I attended that Pinotage is very flexible and recommended trying it with Chinese food. So go ahead and experiment. Sometimes you will get amazing pairings.
Once you enjoy the thrill of trying new grape varietals, you may want to try:
– negroamaro (one of my favorites. red and full of flavour from Italy)
Enjoy! Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with wines you enjoy or would like me to talk about.