October celebrates Pinotage wine. The second Saturday in October is always a high point on the calendar as wine lovers around the world celebrate this South African variety. This year is no different. On the 14th of October, Pinotage will again be celebrated at special events in the US, the UK and SA. One of the events is a Pinotage and Biltong Festival at the Leriba Hotel. Two South African classics together.
I love pinotage. It is one of my favorite red wines. Especially the budget friendly coffee pinotage variants available locally. Pinotage is known as the red wine for the coffee drinker. It satisfies that same dark fruit and chocolate tastes that you get from a good espresso. It is also the perfect wine for a braai.
Pinotage is a crossing of Cinsaut and Pinot Noir grapes. It was first crossed in South Africa in 1925 by scientist Abraham Perold. He observed how Pinot Noir struggled in South Africa’s climate, so he crossed them with a very productive Cinsaut. The results was a surprisingly black grape. Dark in color with a bold wine high in tannin. Pinotage would eventually become the 2nd most planted grape in South Africa.
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While shopping for Pinotage, I found this rather affordable Alvi’s Drift 2016 Pinotage. I needed some wine for cooking, so even if it was a bit young, it would be perfect for cooking wine. However, I tasted it and just loved it. It did not land up in the food. It was so delicious that I went out to buy quite a few more bottles. None of which has ended up as cooking wine. I also grabbed their Shiraz, Pinotage Rose and Chenin Blanc and loved all of them. But the Pinotage stole my heart.
Alvi’s Drift Pinotage has a strong, medium dark colour with a garnet hue. The bouquet and palate are filled with juicy, ripe berry characters with mulberry and blackberry dominating. The tannin structure is well balanced with the oak and fruit. Subtle vanilla and oak is integrated with hints of chocolate and dark cherries.
My October cocktail is dedicated to this great South African wine. I wanted something refreshing for summer, that is easy to make, so I found a few recipes and played around a bit to come up with this rather delicious Pinotage Sangria.
I was scared that the citrus combination will overpower the wine, but the Pinotage pairs perfectly with the citrus flavors in the Pinotage Sangria. The Pinotage Sangria light and refreshing and perfect in a big pitcher filled with ice. Put it close by when you relax, so that you can just sit back and fill up every now and again.
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October Pinotage Sangria
- 750 ml Pinotage
- 250 ml Grapefruit juice
- 150 ml vodka
- 10 splashes of Angostura Bitters
- 50 g sugar
- 2 Limes sliced
Stir all the ingredients together in a big pitcher and add ice. Pour a glass, sit back and enjoy.
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