It’s Pinotage Day, wine lovers! If you forgot to send a card, we totally understand. But, we hope you will join us in celebrating this great grape with some Pinotage wine wisdom. After all, Pinotage is South Africa’s signature red—and if you don’t know it, you should!

Photo Credit: Denee Hough.

Pinotage is a cross between two grape varieties—Pinot Noir and Cinsault, which was once known as Hermitage, hence the clever name mashup. It was created by Abraham Izak Perold in 1925 at Stellenbosch University. Grape Abe’s (Perold’s) initial motivation was to develop a wine that had Pinot Noir’s delicate sensibilities (because the varietal was having a hard time in South Africa’s climate), but one that also featured Cinsault’s hardiness. The net result was a viticultural cross (think grape science) that produced inky, bold-flavored wines with plum, blackberry, bacon and smoke flavors.

The first commercial plantings began in 1941, and Pinotage went on to gain wide attention after its first wine recognition in 1959 as Bellevue Wine Estate Pinotage Champion at the Cape Wine Show .

Grape Abe was obvi a genius because the Pinotage varietal is flourishing today and has become known as South Africa’s finest red.

In general, Pinotage produces deep red, smoky, briary, earthy flavors with occasional notes of bananas and tropical fruits. When made with attention to quality, Pinotage can be a casual sipper or an intense, rich wine that can age for a few years.

Our top three pairings for Pinotage? Chocolate covered bacon, pulled pork and tiramisu.

Happy Pinotage Day!

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