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by Fred McMillin
Professor Abraham Perold, South African enologist, created the grape in 1925.
Professor C. J. Theron, another South African enologist, improved the grape.
John L. Bree, with an awesome list of degrees from U. Of Oregon, Oregon State and U.C. -Davis, made today's wine in California from South Africa's gift to the red-wine world.
So what's the name of the grape? Well, Professor Perold made it by crossing two French red-wine varietals, the light Cinsault (san-so) and the noble Burgundian Pinot Noir. Thus, he called it "Pinosault"? NO. In South Africa, the Cinsault was known as the Hermitage. Hence, the hybrid was named Pino-tage.
Now, how did third-generation California winemaker John Bree come across the far-away Pinotage? The State Department commissioned John to help jump-start winemaking in certain parts of Asia, Europe and AFRICA! Consequently, John's Sutter Ridge Winery is one of the few in the U.S.A. to have commercial Pinotage production. Here's the result.
1994 Pinotage, Amador County, Sierra Foothills
Speaking of Africa, travel-consultant Lynette Peters brought back to her fellow panelists an inexpensive red from Nairobi. It didn't take the enamel off our teeth, but it surely put a tiger in our tank.
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