Groot Constantia’s Pinotage 2013 received a well-deserved trophy at this year’s Absa Top 10 Pinotage Awards beating competition from a total of 154 wines entered. The Absa Top 10 Pinotage Awards is one of South Africa’s premier wine industry contests, currently in its 19th consecutive year running. The 2015 awards ceremony was held at the KWV in Paarl on 28 August.
Pinotage is a uniquely South African grape variety with its origins firmly rooted in local soil. The wine boasts a rich history and distinctive character. Here are 10 Pinotage facts to celebrate Groot Constantia’s Absa Top 10 award:
- Pinotage was bred in South Africa in 1925 as a cross between Pinot noir and Cinsaut (Cinsaut was known as “Hermitage” in South Africa during that time, hence the portmanteau name of Pinotage).
- The Pinotage grape variety was created by Abraham Izak Perold, the first Professor of Viticulture at Stellenbosch University. Perold planted four seeds from his Hermitage and Pinot noir cross in the garden of his official residence at Welgevallen Experimental Farm.
- The first wine was made in 1941 at Elsenburg, with the first commercial plantings at Myrtle Grove near Sir Lowry’s Pass.
- The Pinotage grape is often very high in tannins, a feature wine makers soften through a maceration process.
- Another method of cutting back on the tannins is allowing the fruits to ripen fully, and then using oak barrels to reduce the tannins while keeping the flavour of the fruit.
- The wine produced by Pinotage is often deep red, with a hedgerow flavour full of bright berries and very earthy flavours.
- Pinotage received recognition from the global community when the Kanonkop Pinotage was appointed the Best Red Wine at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in London in 1991.
- The International Pinotage Day takes place on Monday, 10 October 2015.
- Mellasat Vineyards has created the world’s very first white Pinotage while KWV’s Café Culture has added coffee Pinotage bubbly to their range.
- Zimbabwe and New Zealand are the largest Pinotage producers after South Africa.
Groot Constantia’s award-winning 2013 Pinotage comes from a rich, cool climate and is characterised by a deep, dark red colour. A multi-layered complexity of bright red fruit, black berries, black cherries, plums and ripe strawberries brings with it hints of dark chocolate and cinnamon spice.
Groot Constantia is indeed the only Pinotage producer in the Constantia valley and now, as an Absa Top 10 winner, also one of the leading producers countrywide. We hope to build on this achievement with many more vintages celebrating South Africa’s most patriotic wine.