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Pinotage - unique and wonderful, or the devil’s sweat

  • Pinotage is wonderful and unique
  • Pinotage is the devil’s sweat and shall never dirty my wine glasss

0 voters

I’ve never got the attraction of Pinotage, and it is often described as a love-it-or-hate-it wine. So I’m curious to see where the community sit on this issue, so vote away.

I would also welcome anyone who think they can convince me that I’m wrong


I would be boringly (for polling purposes) in the middle. Happy to drink it from time to time – don’t love it, don’t hate it. I do tend to find it quite distinctive which, for me, means I won’t drink it that often, whereas something like southern Rhone I find much easier to drink more frequently.

I feel you may receive a reply from @peterm who could no doubt recommend some good examples for you to test your views, if you’re interested.


I personally find the heavy ones rather, well, heavy.

However, I do rather like the David & Nadia pinotage-lite, and the Radford Vale Vinum stocked by the WS is a decent & enjoyable wine for the price too IMO. I enjoyed a bottle of the False Bay Vineyards ‘The Last of the First’ back in the summer too, which led to a week or two of searching out lighter Pinotages.

It’s not a grape I tend to go for much though, I must confess.

The only one I’ve really enjoyed was poured for me by former neighbours who were South African and had their own supply of Pinotage that wasn’t available for sale in the UK…it was way different from the over extracted, burnt rubber, over alcoholic crapthat is sold in so many UK outlets. The less bad stuff has enough fruit to be a tolerable accompaniment to spicy food.

I can find something better without too much effort.

Perhaps there should be a box to tick for “both and neither statements are correct”

On South African Airways (many years ago) I had a glass or two with my Boerewors, the wine was somewhere between Burgundy and a PX sherry. So both Unique & wonderul AND the Devils Sweat.

Since then I have (rarely) bought UK Pinotage’s, perhaps Oddbins was the last. The wine was absolutely bland and immemorable. I saw no reason to persist when French and Italian wines were then still new and fascinating to me.

So my question is: Can anyone (prob @peterm) suggest anything from TWS lists which will change my parochial opinion? and where can one buy GOOD Boerewors online?


There is no room for compromise. We are a polarised, for-us-or-against-us, binary society. Declare your allegiance and don’t dare to sit on the fence



My experience of pinotage is limited.

I used to be in the “not keen” camp, based on drinking very few (and possibly not well selected) examples.

Having enjoyed the Kanonkop Kadette cape blend - which I believe has a fair dose of pinotage in it - I went on to try the Society Exhibition pinotage (also by Kanonkop) which I have enjoyed. After tryng that I have bought a few bottles of the 2018/19 Kanonkop estate pinotage which is a step up in price. I plan to give these a couple more years before drinking. It will be interesting to see how it compares to other South African reds of similar price.

While I don’t see pinotage becoming a large proportion of my future drinking, I am happy to continue exploring. South African wines in general are an increasing proportion of what I buy.


I think the selection for voting for and against is a bit to binary even for a black or white kind of a guy such as myself, who tends to make decisions in the manner…do or dont I like this.
Had some pinotages where I’ve though lovely, others where my taste buds & brain have shouted ‘for gods sake dont buy any more of that’.
One of the nicest bottles ever enjoyed was a 12 year old Kanonkop Estate Wine. And on the other hand have enjoyed some cheap as chips stuff which has also been brilliant.
If there’s a grape out there where you need to try before you buy, pinotage probably tops the scale.


Yes this. I generally avoid buying, but very much enjoyed the 2016 Exhibition Pinotage in 2020. The only single varietal I have in the cave is the Scions of Sinai Feniks as I saw a promising-sounding review somewhere - only 1 bottle though, try before you buy for sure.

I buy precious little SA wine per se! No real reason, just my £’s seem to always go elsewhere. I can drink Pinotage if I’m offered it but certainly wouldn’t rank in amongst the great wine grapes of the world. Perhaps overrated is the word I’d use.

Some 30-40 years ago I went to a few South African wine tastings at the Cape Wine Centre in London.
At home then I used to drink (from memory) some KWV and Nederburg wines and remember enjoying Pinotage but I haven’t tried it since then and tastes can change.

There are some 1,368 wine grape varieties detailed in Wine Grapes. Unless you like all 1,327 of them, @Rio_Jano I wonder why you picked this one for your poll.

Of course Pinotage is unique, but so then is every grape variety.

If you like certain varieties and buy a lot of them, then by definition that must mean you prefer them over others. Anyone who favours certain varieties must dislike others. If one dislikes Pinotage so be it, there are plenty of other varieties to drink. If you drank a different varietal every night it would take 3.75 years to get through those listed in the book.

@drainhole - me too. But tastes are different. There are Pinotages I don’t like and will not buy again. and two of them have been noted with approval above :slight_smile:

@lapin_rouge I hesitate to suggest, as there are many different styles. I personally rate Bellevue (at £11.50 it’s £2.50 less expensive than the same wine at M&S with their exclusive Houdamond label) and the Exhibition Pinotage (at £11.95 a pound less expensive than the same wine at Majestic under the Kadette label.)

@MarkC you don’t say when you last had such a bad - nay faulty - Pinotage. It’s true that a lot of red South African wines that we got after the end of apartheid sanctions had this fault but while it was recognised in other varieties and people hadn’t tasted Pinotage before it was thought it was an attribute of the grape. It’s not.

It’s OK not to like certain varieties, there’s plenty, but it’s absolutely certain that your tastes will change and wines you like today will fall out of favour with time, and new ones will become your favourites.


I would say that I haven’t bought one for a while…so your response is very probably valid. It’s also clear that some very good stuff is (and was) made - my experience of my former neighbour’s excellent wine was over 20 years ago. He did note that they kept the good stuff for themselves! I have bought several indifferent examples since and one or two downright poor ones.

I think that my answer lies in the last sentence of my comment that I could find quite easily a lot of other wines that I liked from a lot of different grape varieties without trying too hard…so the path of least resistance. I may slip TWS Exhibition into my next order to give it another try! It’s not the only grape variety that I’ve struggled with! SB being another with rare exceptions. Much prefer it in a blend usually…


I’m generally a fan of pinotage in all its different guises but I didn’t like the Bellevue and found it confected and almost medicinal.

Avoid the really cheap stuff but a lot of it is good value.

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Likewise (although thread drift) I struggle to enjoy the gooseberry blast of many New World S.B’s. HOWEVER in sub £30 territory there are some decent Bordeaux S.B’s where the primary fruit has been tamed. This one isn’t bad: https://www.thewinesociety.com/product/chateau-doisy-daene-sec-bordeaux-2019

Returning to the thread: A bottle of Exhibition Pinotage will be on my next order, thanks Peter.

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A label from the days when I drunk Pinotage.

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Going to SA this year, which was the first time in 35 years, opened my eyes to the phenominal quality available for very little money indeed. We tried a couple of pinotage wines and both were very acceptable at about 8 quid a bottle. What blew me away was the quality of the Cab Sauv and it’s blends.
We are going back again next year as we had such a wonderful time.
Probably on this next trip we’ll be exploring some of the cab franc which is currently having many great things being said about it.
Partly due to my age, I’ve decided to quit buying French wines, Bordeau and Rhone mostly EP. I’ll probably be in a wooden box before they’re ready to drink. Without wishing to be too polititical about my stand point, I also believe that the French have been particularly nasty to us since the Brexit furor. So I am quite happy to continue enjoying the several hundred bottle of French wine I have stored and maturing. My spend will now be very much focussed towards South African wines which is where I first cut my teeth on my wine appreciation journey.
Getting back on point a bit, isn’t the devil’s sweat, or a very similar euthanism, usually applied to PN?

This thread reminds me it’s time to give Pinotage another try. It’s not among my favourite grapes, hence I’ve not been buying it, but then I’ve noted my tastes can change over time. Agree with the above posters about SB, used to like it but it’s not where I go to first. Seems like the Exhibition Pinotage is as good a place to start (again) as any…


No vote from me.

I’ve had a few I liked, but really there are so many more interesting grapes out there that I wouldn’t be looking out for more really.

Oh dear. You clearly bought into the rubbish printed in the tame British junk press. There is of course zero evidence that the French have been “nasty to us”. More slightly dumbfounded by our spectacular idiocy , perhaps :rofl: