South Africa’s one and only national grape – Pinotage – celebrates a rich history and has its own day on the wine calendar. The second Saturday of October will always be Pinotage Day. A day dedicated to a unique varietal that was brought about by combining Hermitage and Pinot Noir, the famous Hemel-en-Aarde grape.
Two names that need mention when referring to the heritage of Pinotage are Abraham Izak Perold and Beyers Truter. Perold crafted Pinotage and Truter made sure the legacy continues. Truter and his farm, Beyerskloof, is all about Pinotage. Besides a variety of Pinotage wines and blends, the farm’s Red Leaf Bistro has a Pinotage burger, pinotage ice-cream and now PinotAle – an Irish Red Ale Pinotage blend. How’s that for Pinotage piety?
The Cape Whale Coast has a small but significant collection of Pinotage. Southern Right celebrates the whales that arrive annually in Hermanus as well as ‘n style of Pinotage that resonates with Hemel-en-Aarde – elegant and smooth. The Ashbourne Pinotage blend is another example from this area. Whalehaven produces a Pinotage under their Abalone label and Sumaridge’s Epitome combines 40% Pinotage with Shiraz to qualify as a Cape blend. Moving to Stanford, Stanford Hills makes the popular Jacksons Pinotage and Springfontein has Jonathan’s Ridge. In Bot River, Cape Whale Coast’s neighbour, Wildekrans and Beaumont both have Pinotage in their stables. Wildekrans, has a barrel select Pinotage which has won enough accolades to cover the bottle in award stickers while Beaumont’s is predominantly produced from mature 40-year-old vines.
Variety is indeed in our Pinotage nature and there are many styles to celebrate almost 60 years after the first bottle of Pinotage saw the light. Happy #PinotageDay!