“I have enjoyed great health at a great age because every day since I can remember, I have consumed a bottle of wine except when I have not felt well. Then I have consumed two bottles.” – Attributed to a Bishop of Seville
The attitude of reverence that many people have towards wine is perhaps best illustrated with the above quote. There are surely many reasons for drinking wine and as far as Pinotage is concerned it has many things going for it. For one, and most importantly it is enjoyable. Another is that is it red – somebody once said that the first duty of wine is to be red.
That Pinotage has health benefits when consumed in moderation is a bonus. Numerous studies have shown that the moderate consumption of red wine could be beneficial to your health. This is because red wine contains high concentrations of resveratrol, an anti-oxidant that shows abilities to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
And why Pinotage rather than other red wines? Because it is different. Because it is uniquely South African. And because it allows you to strike a blow against the tyranny of the conventional.
When it comes to finding the ideal partner for Pinotage, there is only one rule: good Pinotage, good food. Yet some say there are no rules for food and wine. There are only silly conventions which people are changing constantly. Thankfully, good Pinotage goes well with most good food. The medium-bodied, ‘lifestyle’ Pinotage pairs particularly well with a freshly-caught game fish or a hearty winter bean soup. Or try it with sashimi and sushi. Bobotie, ratatouille and curry also taste better with a glass of Pinotage next to the plate. Full-bodied Pinotage is better suited to venison, spare ribs with a rich barbecue sauce, oxtail or osso buco.
At a recent tasting in an upmarket restaurant, a French sommelier chose a ‘lifestyle’ Pinotage, chilled to 12ºC, as the ideal companion to oysters! Don’t be scared. Experiment. Make a shredded pork risotto with Pinotage as a major contributor to the sauce, as well as to the cook’s enjoyment. Wake up late on a Sunday morning, and have a glass of Pinotage with your bacon and scrambled eggs.
A well-wooded Pinotage often has chocolate flavours associated with it. Why not make a chocolate pancake, or dark chocolate truffle cake and surprise your friends with how well a sparkling Pinotage accompanies that.
The grape and the wine have an infinite variety of shades and moods, and only your imagination limits its uses. Don’t forget, though, that sometimes the best match is just you and a glass of Pinotage.