There are certain wines that everyone knows about: the Merlots, the Chardonnays, and the Champagnes are just a few of those popular enough to be invited to nearly every party. But, these wines are what the general drinking population has deemed the “Cool Kids.“ The “Cool Kids” aren’t named so only because of their characteristics. Sure, Merlots are rich, Chardonnays are smokin’ and Champagnes, especially when mixed with orange juice and accompanied by a side of toast, are known to be good in bed. But, it’s not these reasons alone that make them popular. Much of their popularity must be attributed to the fact that they are extremely common; simply, they are well known wines.
On the other end of the spectrum are those wines that are unpopular; many of these wines aren’t even allowed to sit at the same wine cellar as the “Cool Kids.” But, just as stated above, it’s not the characteristics of the unpopular wines that make them so: it’s simply because they are not common; they are unknown wines. One of these great unknowns is Pinotage. A wine that many people ignore, if a drinker sat down and took a sip out of a bottle, they might discover that it’s just their type.
Pinotage is a South African wine created by a Abraham Izak Perold. Perold, a professor at Stellenbosch University, was known for his skill in chemistry and viticulture. When the Cape Government decided that they wanted to plant a larger variety of grapes on their lands, they sent Perold on a journey to scout and explore; he returned with 177 grape varieties. In 1925, Perold decided to scout and explore on his own in at attempt to find a grape rich with flavor and strength. He found one by crossing two different grapes: Pinot Noir and Cinsault. It made sense that crossing Pinot Noir, a grape with wonderful wine making potential but difficult to grow, with Cinsault, a grape that is tolerant and flourishes easily, would produce a grape filled with all the important qualities. This experiment resulted in a wine love child: Pinotage.