When it comes to Pinotage food pairing, look for similarly flavored foods to enjoy this robust wine, bringing out the best in both your dishes and your wine.
Here’s a helpful Pinotage wine guide, if you’re curious about this powerhouse of a grape.
12 Easy Dinner Dishes to Pair with Pinotage
Pinotage is a unique wine with smoke, earth, and tannin. The fruit flavors aren’t typically as pronounced as some other red wines, for example, a Malbec, Zinfandel, or Syrah. This makes pairing Pinotage a delightful challenge well worth the effort. Check out this list of Pinotage food pairing ideas to get you started.
Helpful Note: I’ve included real dishes that real, everyday people (like me and you) make and enjoy.
1 Meatlovers Pizza – Easy
Sausage, pepperoni, and ham pizzas with a full, yeasty crust and rich, melted mozzarella cheese beg for a glass of Pinotage wine. Pairing your pizza with Pinotage will cut through the protein, salt, fat, and spice in each bite, cleaning your palate.
- Tip: No one’s judging you if you get a takeout pizza or throw a frozen pizza in the oven. I’m right there with you on a Friday night. If you have good wine, all will be well good.
2 Deli Sandwiches – Easy
Deli sandwiches work well with Pinotage wines. Whether you make your own or grab a sandwich from your favorite take-out deli, you have options. Because Pinotage has robust flavors and structured tannins, you can choose sandwich options with oomph, too.
Think salami, pepper jack cheese, honey mustard, roast beef, olives, and pickles.
- Helpful Tip: While you can go for a lighter sandwich, like tuna fish, this is really an opportunity to choose some of those bolder flavors. (I’d stick with a buttery Chardonnay for tunafish sandwiches – or maybe even a dry Sherry. Oh. That’d be yummy.)
3 Dark Green Leafy Salads – Easy Vegetarian
Any salad lovers out there? Pinotage and salad pairings can work if you go for earthy flavors, think blue cheese, spicy arugula, sunflower seeds, and green onions. This is not the time for an Italian vinaigrette. Think thick and robust.
- Helpful Tip: Add tofu (if you’re vegan), hardboiled egg, or leftover steak for additional protein. Protein will help balance out the tannins in your Pinotage, creating better synergy.
4 Taco Night – Easy Pinotage Pairing
Steak, carnitas, al pastor, impossible burger – whatever your favorite filler is, add those classic taco flavors with chili, garlic, onion, and cumin – and you’re all set. Pinotage is a big-flavor wine, so go for those flavors in your tacos, too.
- Helpful Tip: Be careful with the spice! Chili spice can accentuate alcohol and bitterness in wine. Start with your mild salsa and then taste-test your way up the heat index.
5 Shepherd’s Pie
What I love about this easy Pinotage wine pairing is that it’s a filling dish that you can add will warm your insides. If you go homemade, good on you, but if you’re a busy professional/parent, or if you’ve spent all of your money on great wine, you can pick up a frozen shepherd’s pie and keep it in your freezer for a last-minute meal.
Meat helps balance out the Pinotage, and by adding earthy herbs like oregano and basil to the dish, you’ll help bring out the wine’s fruit.
- Bonus Tip: Add a dash of your Pinotage wine to the meat while it’s simmering. You’re welcome.
Another protein-rich meal, meatloaf will pair with any Pinotage wine. The wine’s pepper and cherry base will add layers of flavor to the dish.
Consider a side of caramelized onions, onion rings, or even french fries.
The Pinotage wine will be the starring companion to your meal, cleansing your palate and adding freshness to an otherwise heavy dish.
7 Chili – Vegan Optional
Personal Note: Chili makes a regular appearance on my meatless Monday dinner table and is my favorite go-to Pinotage pairing.
Just add a bottle of Pinotage and you’re ready to feast.
Pairing chili with Pinotage wines brings out the wine’s red fruit notes and complements the dish’s tomato sauce and spice base.
8 Slowcooker Stew
Use a tomato-based broth and add mushrooms, onions, garlic, turmeric, beef, or sausage, along with potatoes, barley pearls, or brown rice for a soul-pleasing meal. Similar to the other heavy dishes listed, the berry flavors and tannins in your Pinotage wine will elevate your stew.
9 Roasted Vegetables – Vegan
Roasted vegetables have those earthy flavors and also a slight caramelized quality from their natural sugars. Drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil and maybe even a balsamic vinegar reduction if you have it around. Sprinkle with sea salt.
10 Grilled Cheese
If you have young children and need to make a quick meal, grilled cheese can be an easy go-to option. Up your adult grilled cheese by pairing it with Pinotage. Add a dipping sauce with chipotle flavors and enjoy!
Pinotage’s earthy and smokey flavors can add complexity to grilled cheese. Try with pepper jack cheese for added flavor.
11 Grilled and Roasted Sausage
Pairing Pinotage wines with roasted sausage and red and yellow peppers, and maybe a side of onions and garlic, works every time.
Personal Note: This is one of my favorite go-to camping pairings.
Sausage and peppers are an easy match for Pinotage wines. What I love about this pairing is that it’s accessible for beginning cooks.
12 Hamburgers – Vegan Optional
Whether you enjoy bison burgers or vegan patties, the combination of grilled or charred patty with tomato, onion, lettuce, and sauces is always a crowd-pleaser when pairing Pinotage.
Choose takeout or homemade burgers, both will work with your Pinotage wine.
Pinotage’s structure will cut through the fat in your burger, elevating the qualities and flavors of both wine and food.
What Foods Don’t Work Well With Pinotage Wines?
- Avoid pairing Pinotage wines with sweet dishes. Think sweeter sauces. This will clash with the dry tannins of Pinotage wine.
- Delicate, fruity flavors, like a fruit salad, will make your Pinotage wine seem harsh and bitter.
- Chili spice will accentuate the alcohol burn in your Pinotage wine if you have a higher-alcohol bottle (above 13.5% ABV).
Helpful Tips for Wine and Food Pairing
Not all wines will work with all foods. You can force it and pair it however you like, but you’ll miss that magical synergy.
Helpful Tip: Check out this wine and food pairing guide if you’re just starting out. It goes over flavors and considerations with wine pairing.
Final Thoughts – Pinotage Food Pairing
Pairing Pinotage wines with rich, full-flavored dishes that have protein and fat makes all of the difference. Take some time to pair your Pinotage wine well, and you’ll be well-rewarded.
Thirsty for More?
- Thinking of including red wines? Check out this post on cold appetizers that will work for your next red wine tasting.
- If you already know what wines you’ll be serving, check out this post on what to serve at a red wine tasting, and here’s the sister post: what to serve with a white wine tasting.
- Discover: Shiraz vs Merlot.