L'Avenir is a partnership between France and South Africa to help strengthen their economic ties. The name translates into "the future." Their history goes back to the 1680s when French Huguenots brought grape cuttings to South Africa and founded the first winery there.
The Huguenots were lucky enough to land in Stellenbosch as that area is now recognized as the finest grape growing district in the country. The soil and climate there is considered perfect for grape growing. So much so that they refer to it as " the Napa Valley of South Africa."
Pinotage was created by Abraham Perold in 1925 by crossbreeding Pinot Noir and Cinsault. The name came about because Cinsault was referred to as "Hermitage" in South Africa. Crossbreeding grapes is a fascinating science. It is done by planting one variety right next to the other. Because most vines need to be pollinated by a different vine, the process also sends along a few particles of the DNA from the donor to the host.
It takes many years, but eventually you develop a new varietal that has the properties of both of the originals. In this case the adaptability of Cinsault makes the Pinot Noir extension easier to deal with. Pinot Noir is difficult to grow in any location. This process just makes it easier.
The beauty of it all is the wine has this Syrah-like strength from the Cinsault, but the delicacy and sensuous notes of Pinot Noir. Hints of mulberry and blueberry assuage the delicate floral notes and can run the food gamut from chicken paprikash to braised lamb shanks.