When thinking about wine, we should always think about the fruit (grape) and how the juice from this fruit is the basis for a wines essence. The Pinotage grape (and wine) is a cross of Pinot Noir and Cinsault (a.k.a. in South Africa at the time as Hermitage) was invented (crossed) by Professor Abraham Perold in 1925 at Stellenbosch University.
Pinot Noir, the prince of Burgundy on its own does not need an introduction; however you may not have heard much about the dark skinned Cinsault which delivers floral and strawberry notes and thrives in warm and windy climates. With low levels of tannins and acidity, Cinsault is often used in the production of classic feminine Rose wines in Provence France.
You would think that a blend of Pinot Noir and Cinsault would yield a supple wine with low tannins. This is not the case. Often the result is somewhat a rustic profile with dark berries, some smoke and firm tannins. When young and unpolished the Pinotage wines tend to have a unique acetone smell on the nose which reminds me of nail polish remover or paint. Don’t be fooled, the taste is totally different, and these funky scents tends to fade out when aged in oak or bottle.
Thanks to our South African wine purveyors and good friends at Cape Classics, we recently had the luxury of tasting a 2015 Kanonkop Pinotage, produced by Abrie Beeslaar from vines that average 50 years in age. The beautiful purple hues reminded me of a young Spanish Tempranillo and in the mouth was a blast of fruit, plums, cherries, dark chocolate, red berries and a hint of vanilla probably gained from maturation in French oak barrels.
This is a versatile wine and could go well with spicy Asian food, or even pizza and pasta. I have no doubt that this wine will age well for many years to come and as it matures in the bottle will pair really well with meats and cured cheese.
If you have never had a world class Pinotage, then drop us a note and we will point you in the direction of your nearest Cape Classic retailer. I cannot wait to have another taste of this wine.
Written by Tony Bryant, Co-Founder & Investor at IKON
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