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Pinotage’s history is tumultuous. In fact, Pinotage had so many odds stacked against it, its rise from underdog to hero seems not fortuitous, but fated. Back in the 1920s, it was the fashion for scientists to design the next super grape. In 1925, Professor Abraham Perold married Pinot Noir with Cinsault (then known as Hermitage) to create Pinotage. The seedlings were promptly forgotten, only to be saved from the clutches of a garden clean up by a passing student some 20 years later

It briefly rose to fame in 1959 and 1961 when the finer examples won the best wine in the country, only to dip into a period of infamy. In 1991, Beyers Truter won best winemaker of the year at the International Wine and Spirits Competition for the Kanonkop Pinotage. “It changed the perception of Pinotage,” says Truter. “After that, wine masters from all over the world called Pinotage the trump card of South Africa. They said it was red gold.” Today, Pinotage is seen a grape of excellence, able to age alongside the world’s greatest wines. Considered extraordinarily expressive of where it’s grown, South Africa produces two distinct styles: the darker, plusher style filled with big tannins and lots of power, and the lighter Pinot-driven approach that’s crisp and full of bright red fruit.

No matter which style you prefer, Belthazar has the very best expressions our heritage grape has to offer.

Belthazar Wine Editor

Author Belthazar Wine Editor

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