Pinotage is a red wine grape that is South Africa's signature variety. It was cultivated there in 1925 as a cross between Pinot noir and Cinsaut (Cinsaut was known as "Hermitage" in South Africa at that time, hence the portmanteau name). It typically produces deep red varietal wines with smoky, bramble and earthy flavours, sometimes with notes of bananas and tropical fruit.
The majority of the world's plantings of Pinotage is found in South Africa, where it makes up just 6% of the vineyard area but is considered a symbol of the country's distinctive winemaking traditions. It is a required component (30-70%) in "Cape blends". Here it is made into the full range of styles, from easy-drinking quaffing wine and rosé to barrel-aged wine intended for cellaring. It is also made into a fortified 'Port wine' style, and even a red sparkling wine. The latest and fastest growing trend is the production of coffee styled Pinotage. The grape is very dependent on the skill and style of winemaking, with well-made examples having the potential to produce deep coloured, fruity wines that can be accessible early as well as age.