You're supposed to absolutely love or hate Pinotage, but pick the right vineyard and you'll find a real crowd-pleaser

Monday, 30 September, 2013
Olly Smith, Daily Mail
Pinotage is pure evil. Or so I’ve heard it said.
It’s a tricky variety, no denying it, producing wines ranging from light and tangy to smoky beasts that need a bridle and whip to tame their galloping might.

But what exactly is this grape with more faces than Lady Gaga?

There were four key factors in the advent of Pinotage: two grapes, a country and a bloke, Abraham Perold. In 1925 Perold cross-pollinated Pinot Noir with Cinsault (aka Hermitage) in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

The idea was to harness the flavour of the former to the robust growth of the latter.

Ever since, Pinotage has – depending on your point of view – either offended or wowed palates the world over.

There are those who insist you have to love or hate the stuff. Nonsense.

There’s plenty of Pinotage that tastes like old socks, but there are also ace examples that are among the finest wines to sip at this time of year.

As with a pizza – which can be deliciously sublime or a burnt, charry hubcap – it all depends on who’s making it. In the hands of someone like Beyers Truter, ‘The Pinotage King’, it can achieve greatness.

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