kelly magyarics

washington, d.c.-based wine, spirits & lifestyle writer / wine educator

703.203.9463

The gamy appeal of Pinotage

Pinotage has traditionally been South Africa's signature grape, making red wines that often have gamy, leather, smoked meat aromas and flavors (perfect to pair with the wild game found in the country.) Some find it an acquired taste--I like funky, interesting wines, so I've always been a fan. The grape is actually a cross between Pinot Noir and the Rhone Vallye variety Cinsaut (the South Africans leave off the "l" in Cinsault), created to withstand the warm climate of the region.

Depending on the wine shop, you may only see a few brands of Pinotage on the shelf. Spier is a popular producer, as are Nederburg and KWV International.

Try Pinotage with a well-seasoned steak on the grill (beef or venison), grilled lamb chops, or buffalo burgers. It's wild, savage, and memorable--kind of like South Africa itself.