Origin: Western Cape, South Africa
Mugshot: A crazy old homeless man, of whom it is discovered posthumously, that he was in fact a famous author. Fruity as all heck, oft shabbily put together, and sometimes carrying unfortunate aromas of weird fruit, wood smoke, and hung game. When cleaned up, however, this guy can present as pretty darn refined.
Local Haunt: South Africa, and parts of Australia.
In 1991, leather-bound-book-and-rich-mahogany wine legend Beyers Truter, the winemaker at Kanonkop in Stellenbosch, entered his Pinotage into the International Wine and Spirits competition. He instantaneously blew the competition away (figuratively, not literally) and was awarded the title of IWSC Winemaker of the Year – the first South African ever to garner that title. Obviously, since then, the Saffers have shown that they are fairly hot sh*t and have snatched that title more than a few times. But for good ol’ Beyers to do that with a Pinotage was a magic Joel-Stransky-1995-RWC type moment that united a nation. Or at least, it united a small portion of the then affluent white minority that knew what the hell a Pinotage was. Either way, a good day for SA wine. Recently reviewed: