Winners all!


Pinotage–the uniquely SA grape–is a cross between the robust Cinsault (known as Hermitage in SA then) and the finicky Pinot Noir grape. One would have thought that it would have inherited the best of both parents. But as is so often the case this is not so. Pinotage is completely its own creation, delicious, deeply interesting, it is made in a variety of styles all over the country, and is a must have component in so called Cape Blends. Single Pinotages are either wooded or not, but can never be accused of being shy. Alcohol is quite high, at times reaching 15%. Excellent food wines, like all of our reds, it should be served at European room temperature (about 16%) and benefits from decanting to release all those fabulous aromas.  The area under Pinotage vines is now at 7.38% making it our third most planted red grape. Other countries have dabbled with it, like New Zealand and the USA but it is still to us it belongs—our thing. What does it taste like? Well a lot more like Shiraz than Pinot Noir, fruity, intense and delicious, with a maverick edge—very South African. Flavours of chocolate and coffee are sometimes apparent in some examples, but I say if you want chocolate, get some— and the same goes for coffee.

On the vine


The ABSA Top 10 Pinotage Competition is THE benchmark for all Pinotage wines. At the recent edition the following wines were voted tops by the judges.

Top 10 Pinotage Wines                 Vintage                WO                        Winemaker

Beeslaar Pinotage                             2020                      Stellenbosch      Abrie Beeslaar

Beyerskloof Winemak                        2018                      Stellenbosch      Anri Truter

Flagstone Writer’s Block                    2020                      Breedekloof       Gerhard Swart

Kanonkop Pinotage                           2019                      Simonsberg         Abrie Beeslaar

Neil Ellis Bottelary Hills Pinotage         2018                      Bottelary              Warren Ellis

Brink Family Vineyards Pinotage         2019                      Swartland            Dewald Huisamen

Rijk’s Reserve Pinotage                       2016                      Tulbagh                Adriaan Jacobs

Simonsig Redhill Pinotage                     2019                       Stellenbosch      Michael Malan

Vondeling Bowwood Pinotage                2019                      Voor-Paardeberg    Matthew Copeland

Windmeul Reserve Pinotage                 2019                          Paarl                Abraham van Heerden/Michael Kotze

The judges




Vintage Class Wines                       Vintage                WO        Winemaker

Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage           2011      Stellenbosch      Anri Truter

Hill & Dale Pinotage                          2009      Stellenbosch      Guy Webber

Lanzerac Pinotage                            2001      Stellenbosch      Wynand Lategan

Neil Ellis Vineyard Selection Jon       2012      Jonkershoek Valley         Warren Ellis

Rijk’s Reserve Pinotage                 2012      Tulbagh                Adriaan Jacobs