Pinotage is South Africa’s national red grape, but it is constantly fighting a bad ass reputation. Among wine circles, this cultivar gets a lot of flack, often being targeted as a wine that has unattractive varnishy, synthetic aromas such as burnt rubber or even bonfire (think smoke taint that isn’t good). Not too long ago, we went to visit Beyerskloof – the unabashed home of Pinotage (if you’ve never heard of Pinotage, we wrote all about the variety here), to taste for ourselves.
Put simply, the problem with Pinotage is that it can be unpredictable – you’re not always sure what you’re going to get. And we get it – when you’re going to fork out cash dollar dollar on a bottle of vino, you want to be assured it’ll be worth your sippage. We have good news for you. Thanks to talented winemakers wanting to elevate the status of this sorely misunderstood grape, there’s a new wave of Pinotage bounding its way through the winelands. And Beyerskloof is rocking out, centre stage. Beyerskloof makes their calling clear to all – they make Pinotage, and they make it well. That’s it. Not must (get it?), no fuss. They literally have a dedicated range of different styles and price points solely made up of Pinotage, highlighting some of the most attractive attributes about the wine, such as its juiciness, dark brambly fruit and earthy, green olive flavours. Top picks for us at Beyerskloof were the Traildust and Diesel Pinotage (hats off to anyone who doesn’t shed a tear at the story of Diesel the faithful hound!). What’s more, our region of Stellenbosch is where you’re find classic examples of this variety, because, well, we’re the only ones specialising in it in the world!
At the end of the day, it might be variable depending on who’s making it, but hey, who likes normal anyway? When you’re feeling spontaneous, we say #givepinotageachance.