As usual, I discovered last night that I continue to have so much to learn about the wine world. Some friends came over for dinner and brought with them this bottle of 2007 J Vineyards and Winery Pinotage….


Pinotage was created in South Africa in 1925. It’s a cross of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut. Clearly the Pinot part of Pinotage comes from the Pinot Noir, but where did the ‘age’ come from? Well, Cinsaut is one of the grapes of the Hermitage region of France, so the name became Pinotage. The first crop wasn’t harvested in South Africa until 1959.

Now you have the history, let’s bring it back to California. The last statistic I found was that around 20 acres of Pinotage was planted in California. That’s not a lot. It’s likely the reason I haven’t had one before.

Everything that I’ve heard and read about this grape is that it produces a light to medium bodied wine, but that certainly wasn’t the case with this one. It could have been the warm growing season of 2007, but it was a full-bodied wine for sure. The first swirls of the glass let aromas of smoke, deli meats and deep, dark black fruits. It smelled so good, I just sniffed it for a while before actually taking a sip.

When the first sip hit my mouth it was intense. All those dark fruits came to the forefront and attacked my palate with pleasure. You’re going to laugh, but we paired this wine with chili dogs. I later found out that it’s probably better with BBQ, but that just wasn’t on the menu last night. I did, at least, BBQ the hot dogs. I was really surprised how well it worked with the simple American meal we had.

This isn’t a wine you’ll find everywhere, so when you do check it out. It just may open your eyes to yet another varietal you’ve been missing. It did for me.


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