Every wine region has its signature grape varietal, some like South Africa have a couple. For white wine its Chenin Blanc and when it comes to reds it's Pinotage. The varietal was created about 85 years ago when Cinsault and Pinot Noir were crossed. And while there are other reds that do well in South Africa, Pinotage is the varietal that sets them apart from the pack. Today I'll look at one from Simonsig Family Vineyards. The Simonsig 2005 Pinotage was made from fruit sourced in the Stellenbosch region of South Africa. This offering is 100% Pinotage. Approximately 5,000 cases of this selection are produced each vintage. The suggested retail price for this wine is $14.99.
An extroverted nose, loaded with cherries, mulled spices and cedar leads this 2005 Pinotage. Taking the first sip, fleshy fruit flavors emerge. Both black and blue flavors star with blueberry, blackberry and cherry leading the way. Kirsch liqueur flavors emerge mid-palate and continue through to the finish which features flourishes of burnt sugar and a host of continuing spice notes such as black pepper, cinnamon and cloves. These give way to a savory component that's joined by a nice closing wallop of sour berry. This wine has good structure and solid acidity.
Both Pinot Noir and Cinsault are generally speaking excellent food wines when they're made well. It's no surprise then that a well made and balanced Pinotage would also be a terrific food wine. This Pinotage is both of those things. It'll pair well with many foods but a hearty and spicy beef based chili would be an inspired pairing. This wine is delicious now but don't hesitate to hold onto it for several years. The tannins will soften a bit and make this an even more appealing selection. For under $15 this is a very solid value packed with flavor.