What is Pinotage?

Pinotage is South Africa's unique grape, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, created in 1925. For many years it was a workhorse providing quantity but not necessarily quality. However a few dedicated producers, notably Beyers Truter, remained committed to standards, and today quality is improving overall, with some exceptional wines now available.

Pinotage is a love it/hate it variety, as even in a blend it can be dominant. Some producers argue that it should be in all 'Cape Blends' because of its link with the Cape. Others would prefer to be free to make their own red blend without regulations.

Main characteristics

Colour: red; cherry to garnet

Body: medium to full bodied

Tastes include: cherry, raspberry with notes of banana savoury notes of spicy, tobacco and leather

Often blended with: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and other red grapes. This may be called a 'Cape Blend'

Spotter's guide: South Africa. There are also plantings in New Zealand

Keep or drink? Many are ready to drink; but the finest will keep for 10 years and more

Price range: £5.99-£30

Try it with

Seared steak with rocket & wheat salad
Sizzling spare ribs with BBQ sauce
Lamb skewers on the grill