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LivingFood and DrinkPinot Noir and Pinotage

Pinot Noir and Pinotage


by Mark Cochrane

Two interesting wines with similar roots but very different histories. Pinot Noir is instantly recognizable as a Burgundy in France, as a blended wine with Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier to make Champagne, as Pinot Nero in Italy and under many other names in a variety of countries. It’s also that famous California wine that the film Sideways elevated to stardom status while simultaneously sinking Merlot sales. Pinot Noir is known as the “heart break” grape because it’s difficult to grow, difficult to harvest because of its thin skin and difficult to ferment into a great wine but when you do it right, the result is a beautiful wine. French Burgundies tend to be lighter but can be aged for decades while California Pinot Noir’s are more complex and layered but have a shorter life span. A great wine and it pairs well with an assortment food from pork to salmon.

Pinotage started as Pinot Noir but it was crossed with a Cinsault grape variety by Stellenbosch University to produce a unique wine that is synonymous with South Africa. Pinotage and Chenin Blanc are considered the flagship wines of South Africa grown in areas like Stellenbosch and the Western Cape. Although some South African plantings have been replaced with Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Chardonnay due international demand, Pinotage is popping up in other wine regions like New Zealand and California. It’s a fascinating wine because it has a unique aroma and flavour but is still reminiscent of Pinot Noir in so many ways.

Cigar Box Pinot Noir – Casablanca Valley, Chile

Like most Pinot Noir’s the aroma of fresh berry fruit is subtle with a slight hint of tobacco and earthiness. It has lively acidity with strawberry and cherry flavours and a medium finish.

LCBO – $ 13.00 750ml  (545707)
Available in the Almonte and Carleton Place LCBO

Ken Forrester Petit Pinotage – Stellenbosch South Africa

Strong earthy aromas mixed with dark chocolate make this a distinctive wine. Flavours of dark cherry and some cocoa give this wine a medium to long finish. The wine pairs well with barbecue pulled pork or pizza

LCBO -$13.95  750 ml  (631594)
Available at the Carleton Place LCBO.

Mark Cochrane

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