This is the first American Pinotage selection to grace these pages, and a most serious Pinotage to boot. The wine is a deep garnet color and segues to a distinctively perfumed nose akin to Pinotage wines from the grape's native home of South Africa. The Saint Gregory has a good fruit forward expression with spiced meat aromas and a gamy complexity that is accented with blueberries, strawberry jam, cedar, and dried hibiscus flowers. Smoky flavors, plum and black cherry fruits work in concert with fine tannins and intriguing chalky soil notes. The wine finishes with sweet baking spices, leather and tar. An impressive American triumph for this up-and-coming varietal.
Blackberry, spice, cherry wood, and cayenne pepper.
Saint Gregory has been owned and operated by the Graziano family for over three generations. Vincenzo and his wife Angela first planted the vineyards in 1918 and during the Great Depression they sold their grapes to bootleggers and home winemakers to support the family. Vincenzo's son Joseph subsequently ran the winery for many years and today it is grandson Gregory who carries on the family winemaking tradition. The vineyards, located in southern Mendocino County, were among the first Pinotage vines in California. Pinotage is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, a Rhone grape that is typically used in blending. The grape was unique to South Africa for many years, but is starting to see a lot more dirt here in the US.
This American pinotage needs a truly American recipe. Try a Christmas pleaser like my Toasted Spice Ham Drizzled in Honey--a wonderful twist on the classic! The sweet, spicy and earthy flavors in my toasted spice rub bring out similar notes in the wine.
In 1925 a professor at the University of Stellenbosch called Abraham Perold physically brushed a flower of Pinot Noir against a flower of Cinsault and created a cross-pollinated variant of both grapes. Years later, serendipity intervened when the plants were saved from an unkempt garden by Perold's successor at the university.