June 2010



Pinotage ( South African red wine)  Pinotage is pronounced ” Pin no targe” (as in large) rather than “Pee no tazge.”

The grape was created in South Africa in 1925 as a viticultural cross of Pinot Noir and Cinsault, two varieties of Vitis vinifera; not a hybrid. Pinotage is also grown in Brazil, Canada, Israel, New Zealand, United States and Zimbabwe.

Appearance: Look for a deep red color with a slight purple rim.

Aroma and Bouquet: Fruity combination of cherries, blackberries and raspberries. Can have traces of leather, flint, tobacco and oaking will impart smokey earthy aromas.

Taste: You should expect good depth of flavor, fruity wine, naturally high in tannins with tastes of banana and fruit characters of mulberry, loganberry, blackberry and damson. Other descriptions include a spicy peppery taste, or gamey, earthy, smokey, coffee or chocolate flavors depending on oaking.

Faults may include volatile acidity (raspberry vinegar taste), acetone/paint, or “rusty nails.”

Styles range from red fruity wines capable of aging to rosés to ports, or even sparkling wine. Sturdier bodied styles age well and the mellowing effect results in a taste resembling mature bordeaux. “Cape Blends” must contain 30-70% pinotage and usually a bordeaux variety to round them out.

It should be served at 61 degrees F.

Pairs well with stews, other rich dishes, wild game from deer to duck, barbecue and all types of cheeses, but best with sharp cheddar or an aged cheese like gouda.


There were 18 participants this month. Lars presented the characteristics of Pinotage and gave us a benchmark Pinotage to get sense of the varietal. There was much discussion and sharing of opinions with the tasting of each entry. Great food, views and people to share a tasting with. And now here are the results of our scoring.

Place Wine name From Year Alc Price
1 -263 Spice Root South Africa 2007 14.5% $20
2 -261 Cellar Craft Kit

Mary Robbins

South Africa 2007 14% $5
3 -259 Onyx South Africa 2006 14.5% $16
3 -259 Zafara South Africa 2009 14% $10
4 -255 LaCapra Amazing South Africa 2008 14% $10
5 -254 Mann Vitners BENCHMARK
South Africa 2008 14% $8
6 -245 Nederburg South Africa 2008 14% $12
7 -227 Zafrika South Africa 2008 14% $10
8 -212 Petit South Africa 2008 14% $9
9 -202 Nederburg South Africa 2007 13.5% $11.50
10 -195 Westerland

All Things Wine

South Africa 2006 14% $13
11 -188 KWV South Africa 2004 14% $13


Herding Cats

80% Merlot

20% Pinotage

South Africa 2008 13.5% $5

This month the most expensive wines scored the highest in place 1 and 3, but in the number 2 spot was Mary’s Pinotage kit wine from Cellar Craft. She also received a Silver Medal from WineMakers Magazine for that wine.

The total points are listed in the place column. Another note is that all the wines were 100% Pinotage except number 12. This wine was a blend and actually scored the highest. We disqualified it from the scoring due to it being a blend.