Pinotage Wine: The Ultimate Guide & Our 11 Best Under $30

Pinotage Wine Guide

As South Africa’s signature wine, Pinotage is a unique red wine that originated in South Africa, and today its known for their dark fruit and earthy flavors, smoky notes, and rich textures.

In this blog post, we will explore the history of the wine, go over its taste profile, and recommend some food pairings to enjoy with your glass of Pinotage!

Table of Contents

What is Pinotage?

Pinotage name red wine red wine red wine red wine

Pinotage is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault grapes. Cinsault used to be called Hermitage in South Africa, hence the name. And its the third most widely planted red grape variety in South Africa, but has since become the national wine of South Africa. And its even a required wine in Cape blends.

The Pinotage grape was developed due to its resistance to disease and adaptability to warm climates, allowing for it to be grown in more parts of the world.

And it offers a variety of styles, from light-bodied and refreshing wine, to full-bodied barrel-aged wines that are suited for aging. Plus the grape is very versatile, because it can be produced into white wine, Rosé, fortified wine, and even sparkling wine.


Pinotage was developed by Abraham Izak Perold (1st Professor of Viticulture at Stellenbosch University) in 1924, who crossed Pinot Noir and Cinsault grapes to create a new varietal.

Perold’s ambition was to craft a wine that had the flavor of Pinot Noir and possessed the hardiness and robustness of Cinsault. With a high yield, heat-tolerance and drought resistance, Cinsault is the perfect grape for hot climates.

Where Is It Produced?

Pinotage Wine Region map

Pinotage is primarily associated with South Africa, and specifically the Western Cape region (originally Stellenbosch wine region).

And as these wines continue to increase in popularity, it is being planted and produced in areas such as California, New Zealand, Oregon, Australia, and even parts of Europe.

What Does Pinotage Taste Like?

Pinotage Wine Taste Profile

Pinotage is known for its distinctive dark fruit flavors of cherry, blackberry jam, fig, and blackcurrant. They also have an earthy and smoky-grilled characteristic, with notes of leather and tobacco coming through in more full bodied styles.

The wines are typically high in alcohol, medium to full bodied, with moderate tannins that can range from medium to high, depending on the style of wine.

What is Coffee Pinotage?

Coffee Pinotage is one of the most unique wine styles that have started to become more popular. Basically its a style that concentrates on bringing out the rich coffee, chocolate and spice characters in the wine by using slightly different winemaking techniques.

For instance, adding heavily toasted oak staves into the tanks during maturation can significantly improve coffee flavors.

Pinotage Food Pairings

Pinotage pairs well with grilled meats, sweet and spicy sauces, savory and earthy foods.

Some of our favorite Pinotage food pairings include:

  • Pepperoni pizza
  • Korean BBQ
  • Nashville Hot Chicken
  • Smoked Duck
  • Pulled Pork
  • Smoked Bacon
  • Pastrami sandwich
  • Roasted lamb chops with rosemary
  • Grilled Lamb with red wine sauce
  • Braised beef short ribs with root vegetables
  • Barbecue pork sandwiches
  • Chicken Teriyaki

Our 11 Favorite Pinotage Wines Under $30

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1) Groot Constantia Pinotage 2018 (Best Overall)

Groot Constantia Pinotage 2018

This is a fantastic wine that has intense aromas of dark and red fruits, dark chocolate, and tobacco. 

And its very smooth on the palate with flavors of baked plum, cranberry, blueberry, blackberries. Finally on the finish there is hints of vanilla and chocolate lifted by a slight smoky character.

2) Simonsig Redhill Pinotage 2017 (Runner Up)

Simonsig Redhill Pinotage 2017

Coming from one of the oldest wine farms in South Africa, this wine is delicious and especially for under $30! 

Its a full bodied dry wine with a great structure. And it has flavors of black cherry, plum, dark chocolate, vanilla, and coffee along with notes of tobacco and smoke. Overall, it’s just a tasty red wine from SA.

3) Beaumont Pinotage 2018

Beaumont Pinotage 2018

A family owned and managed wine farm in South Africa, this is a great example of a classic SA Pinotage. Because its full bodied with intense aromas of blackberry, black plum, licorice, and hits of chocolate and mint.

And it is definitely full of flavor with notes of black fruits, raspberry, dark chocolate, coffee, tobacco, and spice with supple tannins that lead to a long and pleasant finish.

4) Barista Pinotage 2021 (Best Value)

Barista Pinotage 2021

This wine from Barista is one of the best values you can find under $15. Because you will find a flavorful wine with ripe fruits and some nice spice notes on the nose.

Then there will be flavors of plum, blackberry, and coffee along with hints of chocolate, smoke, leather, and a slightly peppery finish

5) Survivor Pinotage 2019

Survivor Pinotage 2019

Another very good valued Pinotage, this wine has intense aromas of plum, black cherries, and hints of tobacco smoke.

Then on the palate you’ll find a smooth texture with flavors of blackberry, prune, and more plums with notes of cedar, tobacco, and a bit of spices at the end.

6) Kanonkop Kadette Pinotage 2020 (Most Popular)

Kanonkop Kadette Pinotage 2020

One of the most premium and well known wineries in South Africa. This wine is full-bodied, with aromas of ripe plum and cherry fruit with some earthy notes.

And on the palate there are rich fruit flavors of plum, blackberry, and raspberry. Finally there are some notes of leather, pepper, and vanilla with a soft finish.

7) Nederburg The Winemaster's Pinotage 2019 (Best Value Runner Up)

Nederburg The Winemaster's Pinotage 2019

Another good value Pinotage at around $15.

The nose of this wine has intense aromas of dark fruits like blackberry and plum, along with hints of oak and vanilla. And then on the palate you will find earthy flavors of coffee, dark chocolate, and smoke.

8) Diemersdal Pinotage 2020

Diemersdal Pinotage 2020

From one of the oldest wine estates in South Africa, this winery is a landmark. With intense aromas of dark fruit, chocolate, and tobacco, it’s a full-bodied wine with complex flavors of plum, oak, smoke, and earthy notes.

9) Mooiplaas Wine Estate The Bean Coffee Pinotage 2020 (Coffee Pinotage)

Mooiplaas Wine Estate The Bean Coffee Pinotage 2020

Coffee Pinotage is one of the most unique and interesting wine styles that have started to become more popular.

This wine is medium to full-bodied, with aromas of coffee and dark jammy fruit. And it has earthy flavors of coffee, tobacco, mocha, and leather with a hint of smoke and a pleasing finish. If you love coffee, try this wine!

10) Painted Wolf Guillermo Pinotage 2019

Painted Wolf Guillermo Pinotage 2019

Smooth, earthy, tobacco, and dark fruit flavors describe this wonderful Pinotage. On the nose there’s lots of savory aromas of dark fruits and hints of tobacco.

And then on the palate you will find a rich smooth texture with flavors of blackberry jam, tobacco, oak, and earth.

11) Beeslaar Pinotage 2019 (Best Premium)

Beeslaar Pinotage

This is one of the best examples of a premium, high-end South African Pinotage from a single vineyard. Because its an elegant full bodied wine with aromas of ripe dark fruits, blackberry, and some spice notes.

And then on the palate you will find concentrated flavors of cherries, strawberries, plums, leather, smoke, and tobacco along with hints of oak and vanilla with an underlying earthy flavor. Finally there’s a long smooth and balanced finish.

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