Weekend Wine: Like Noir? Try Pinotage

Since Sideways, almost everyone who is even casually interested in wine has tasted a Pinot Noir. But many people have never even heard of the grape varietal known as Pinotage.

Pinotage is a hybrid grape, the result of crossing Pinot Noir with Cinsault (a Rhone varietal that is among the 13 permissible grapes in Chateauneuf-du-Pape). Created and planted widely in South Africa, this grape produces wines of unusual character. I have become a fan of the value-driven wines from South Africa in general, but Pinotage is really their signature offering. Since it is relatively unknown, Pinotage is still very under-priced relative to its quality, especially in the case of a wine such as the 2006 Seidelberg that I tasted in the video accompanying this article.

What I find intriguing about Pinotage is the copper-penny-meets-banana flavor profile that so often comes through. In the case of the Seidelberg, I got a major dose of bacon as well, which is a flavor I adore. I recently did a show looking for wines to pair with bacon; I probably should have tried a Pinotage then! You can find a number of Pinotage wines around the country for under $10 a bottle (here are a few). If you like big red wines I hope you try one of these and expand your palate. You'll save a little dough while you're at it!

Gary Vaynerchuk is the host of Wine Library TV.com

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