The quest to produce wines from the two major Burgundian varieties of chardonnay and pinot noir has a relatively recent history in SA. There must have been some pinot noir in the country a century ago. Without it, Professor Perold would not have been able to produce the crossing with cinsault that yielded pinotage. However, there was little evidence of it for the half century that followed his famous moment of genetic engineering. 

The decade of the 1970s saw the first serious plantings of most of the so-called noble cultivars in the Cape. That was when Rhine (that is true) riesling, sauvignon blanc, merlot, cabernet franc and even malbec initially appeared in modern era SA vineyards. Pinot noir arrived around then, but the material that made its way past the gatekeepers was the so-called Swiss BK5 clone, better suited to sparkling wine than wannabe burgundy...

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