Noble Savage (he said): Every year, the second Saturday of October is used to celebrate Pinotage Day. I scoured the interwebs looking for a reason why it’s the second Saturday in October, but I cannot find any reason other than there’s not much happening on the day. (If you know why, please explain).
Pinotage is a hybrid of Pinot Noir and Cinsault, also known as Hermitage. This hybrid was the brainchild of Abraham Izak Perold, the first professor of Viticulture at Stellenbosch University. Based on his knowledge of grape varieties, he was sent on a scouting mission in the early 1900’s to Europe in order to extend the number of varietals used in the Cape. He returned with 177, many of which still exists at the Welgevallen Experimental Farm in Stellenbosch.
It’s not know why he chose Pinot Noir and Cinsault as the breeding parents; he did not keep any notes on his reasoning. But the result is a wholly South African wine, with its unique structure and complexity mirroring its country of origin. As a bonus, Pinotage has increasingly become a jet setter, with different wineries excelling at international competitions.
On to the food. What better way to celebrate Pinotage, than with a Pinotage inspired burger. To make the burger is easy – you can find the recipe here. I have since stopped using the binding agent, rather opting for more fatty mince (70% – 30% works best), but it’s up to you.
For the Pinotage onions, start with combining 2 cups Pinotage (we used Ken Forrester Wines – 2017 Pinotage) and 2 Tbsp brown sugar in a saucepan over medium to high heat.
Reduce for about 30 minutes; you should be left with about half a cup. When the Pinotage reduction is almost ready, start frying your onions. Stir in the reduction, and let it simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes.
In the meantime, grill the burger patties.
Before assembling the burger, I melted a slice of Gouda on each patty
I kept the burger very simple – you don’t need to add much, as the flavours are quite strong – so lettuce, cheesy patty, and topped with some Pinotage onions.
The burger was served with a cheese, bacon, and tomato pasta salad – you can find the recipe here.
Obviously we would have some wine with the burger. And what better than the beautifully created Survivor Pinotage.
The prune, plum, and spicy notes worked very well with the meatiness of the burger, and is balanced by the slight sweetness of the onions. Delicious!
By Jan Schoeman