Pinotage is the result of a cross between the Pinot Noir and Cinsault varieties. It was created in South Africa in 1925 by Professor A I Perold at Stellenbosch University. Pinot Noir makes the classic highly-prized wines of Burgundy, and Cinsault is a prolific red cropper that makes undistinguished table wines in the south of France. Pinot Noir is very difficult to successfully grow whereas Cinsault is sturdy and resistant to vine ailments. In 1991, Kanonkop's winemaker Beyers Truter entered his Pinotages at the International Wine and Spirit Competition. These so impressed the judges that he was presented with the "Winemaker of the Year" award - becoming the first South African to win this prestigious award.
Starting in the early 1990s Pinotage was exported across the globe and it experienced mixed success early on. Detractors claimed it was harsh and had unpleasant aromatics of smoke and acetone. Research done since that time has found the problem to be poor viticultural practices. Starting in the early 2000s winemakers began to treat Pinotage more like the noble Pinot Noir rather than the lowly Cinsault grape. The improved vineyard practices have greatly improved the end product and the unpleasant smoky/acetone characteristics have been completely removed from most examples.
Pinotage is ideally suited to the South African “braai” or barbeque culture and is a good wine to pair with most meats, from burgers to game meats and most things that come off the grill. The usual descriptors include graphite and earthy notes with some really pure fruit. It continues to be considered a food wine and an easy drinker but there has been a huge increase in quality since 2000. The only significant plantings are in South Africa, but winemakers have started experimenting with it in California and New Zealand.
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Painted Wolf Guillermo Pinotage 2012 89 pts The Wine Advocate (NM) -Soft and rounded with succulent black currant pastille and strawberry that segues into a silky smooth, oaky finish that is nicely focused.
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12 bottles or more - 5%
24 bottles or more - 7%
36 bottles or more - 8%
48 bottles or more - 9%
60 bottles or more - 10%
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