What is the perfect food pairing with a great Pinotage? 

plate of cheese, snacks and wine

Many people, visitors to the wonderful part of the world and locals alike, come and enjoy wine and food pairings (with our renowned generous portion sizes) in the Bellevue Tasting Room & Restaurant. Because food and wine pairing is such an essential tradition and because we produce one of the finest Pinotage wines in the country we felt it prudent to talk about and answer the question ‘’What is the perfect food pairing for a great Pinotage?’’ 

In our articles, dotted with the opinions and observations of our Viticulturist, owner founder Dirkie Morkel and Winemaker Wilhelm, we will also answer many more of the frequently asked questions that our representatives are asked at such food and wine pairings and so we hope you find them informative and most of all, as pleasurable to read as the joy one receives when tasting a great wine! 

Food and wine pairing are as old as time itself. From ancient readings, we learn of the breaking of bread and the imbibing of wine simultaneously, so it is nothing new to pair food and wine, but it has become something of an art form now, a connoisseur’s triumph and the average man’s delight! 

This article, however, talks specifically about the perfect food pairing for a great Pinotage so perhaps we should firstly look at the difference between a Pinotage and a Pinot Noir as they are sometimes confused, and what constitutes a great Pinotage (or a bad one!)  

What is the difference between Pinotage and Pinot Noir? 

Essentially Pinot Noir is a foreigner and a Pinotage is a proudly South African original! Pinot Noir is a red cultivar from the Burgundy region in France and Pinotage is a South African cultivar, thanks to a crossing that was made in 1925 by Prof Perold between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut. As Dirkie says ’’A Pinot noir is the father of Pinotage, Cinsaut the mother, which means that the pollen of Pinot noir was used on the flower of Cinsaut.’’ 

Pinot Noir, planted in the correct terroir, will most likely produce an elegant feminine wine, with a long finish and a lighter colour than Pinotage. Pinotage is also normally a bigger wine with a deeper colour and more body with a higher alcohol percentage. A point of interest is that Pinotage grapes can deliver a wine close to a Pinot Noir in a colder climate. 

What makes a great Pinotage? 

As our Winemaker Wilhelm likes to describe it (and he should know!) as ‘’A great Pinotage should be classy, complex with great balance, length and poise. The aromatics can range from plum, cherry, berry, truffle etc varied and changing with age. The bottle maturation aromatics should develop over time.’’ Dirkie adds that it should have a good balance between the silky tannin structure and typical fruit flavour of plum and red berries. 

What is a bad Pinotage? 

It’s difficult to describe it but our experts agree that a bad Pinotage would be lacking all the characteristics of a good one, as aforementioned and is pretty much the same as any bad wine – lacking character with unbalanced tannins and high a level of alcohol when harvested at an unacceptably high sugar level. 

What Food goes best with Pinotage? 

So, having established What a Pinotage is and what constitutes a good one, what are the foods that would pair best with it?  


With the current trend in wine and chocolate pairing, a chocolate souffle or bittersweet chocolate like dark chocolate with a sweet centre is said to be favourable with Pinotage. 

Curries and roasts 

It also pairs well with curries generally and dishes like Roast Chicken and roast Duck as well as lamb chops. 

Cheese is the perfect pairing   

Without a doubt cheese though is the perfect pairing with a great Pinotage but of course, there are many cheeses so what works exceptionally well with it? Wilhelm seems to feel that creamy cheeses, with soft or less harsh flavours, tend to pair better with softer, aromatic red wine in general like Pinotage – specifically Brie and Camembert. 

Come and taste the best  

Bellevue Estate offers the very best in food and wine pairing in a charming ambience both indoors and outdoors with both options featuring immersive experiences with the estate’s award-winning wines. 

Learn more about our exceptional Pinotage here - https://bellevue.co.za/pinotage-at-bellevue/ or contact us to book a function for that wedding or special family occasion, or for our restaurant – or just come and visit and taste the best. We are always here, ready and willing to welcome you with open arms! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.