Wines that Rock: Pinotage - The first love, Redux
One of the first varietals of wine that I ever obsessed over was Pinotage. It gave me somthing really special, something that connected me with my home and something I could share with my friends. Pinotage was the defining wine for me, the wine that showed me what wine could be all about.
Pinotage was the defining wine for me, the wine that showed me what wine could be all about.
Pinotage was the first ever wine I wrote about on Vynl, and I compared it to the story of Rodriguez. Both nearly lost to time, rescued by an unassuming culture that was totally clueless to what they had on their hands. But they held on to it anyway, becoming more about who they are to themselves rather than what they were to the world. Maybe it was because South Africa was held behind the cruel curtain of apartheid, while Rodriguez was getting screwed over by a record label that had released him, but these ghost figures came back roaring once the shackles had been abandoned.
Pinotage is not what Africa tastes like, Pinotage is what SOUTH AFRICA tastes like!
That story, the feelings, the pride of belonging, and coming from South Africa are what tie me so closely to Pinotage, and make so many friends fall in love with it. "It tastes like how I imagine Africa would taste" they say, oversimplifying the magnitude of the rich plums, berries, pepper, tobacco, and even on occasion rooibos flavors. Its sensual, dark, and has an electricity about it that can only come from the vibrant South Africa. This is not what Africa tastes like, this is what SOUTH AFRICA tastes like! You taste the richness of the culture, the energy of the people, and the appreciation of the beauty that surrounds you everyday.
Thats why I love Pinotage, from the first sip fall in love with it, and want to take it with you everywhere, aching for a desire to return home. Mom would love it if I did.
People often wander why Pinotage is South Africa's signature red wine, and I understand why they are a little cautious with this hybrid grape. Pinotage has a bad rep (long the grape of cheap boxed wine in South Africa), but its a story of resurgence, of forging an identity against the naysayers. I know countless people who were rooting for Pinotage to fail, for South Africa to fail, but every person who has experienced them has often found a deep love and a longing to return. Thats why I love Pinotage, from the first sip fall in love with it, and want to take it with you everywhere, aching for a desire to return home. Mom would love it if I did.