IT’S perhaps fair to say Pinotage is a confusing red wine.

Firstly, it’s a quintessential love-it-or-hate-it grape with its unique tang and the way it works the tastebuds.

Moreover, get a good one and the quirky power, the chewy jamminess and the aroma can make it a real indulgence. Get a bad one, and that power becomes either limp or able to remove nail polish and paint, while the jam pains the tastebuds at the side of your tongue to such an extent you want to chew them off. (Okay, that’s a bit over the top but you get the drift.)

Secondly, its name by itself is confusing.

Pinotage was bred in the 1920s by a viticulture professor at Stellenbosch University, in the heart of one of South African’s great wine regions.

He basically pollinated the fragrant Pinot Noir with the sturdy Cinsault - a variety associated with France’s Rhône Valley that South Africans call Hermitage. Hence Pinot-tage. But this is extra confusing as the South African Hermitage is nothing to do with the great wine area of the northern Rhone in France also called Hermitage, which produces high quality Syrah (also known as Shiraz).

(More of Hermitage later.)

Anyway, such was the confusion over this new Pinotage variety that it took 70-odd years for growers to make the most of it, before creating what is now this generally big, gutsy, jammy love-it-or-hate-it red which gets underneath tastebuds and can likewise lift hearty stews and barbecued meat.

We in this column sit on the love side of the love-hate spectrum, but only at the right time and place.

One that we can make time for, though, is the Barista Pinotage from the Val de Vie estate in Western Cape.

Winemaker Bertus Fourie has concentrated on drawing out the coffee-like aromas of what is now South Africa's signature red grape and they complement the jamminess and a gentle intensity on the nose and palate. The tannins are ripe, suiting the round and mouth-filling plum, cherry and mulberry fruit.

It comes in at 13.5 per cent and is available from Majestic for £9.99 (or £8.99 with the Mix Six offer).

Now onto Hermitage (the French wine appellation d’origine controlee, not the South African Cinsault).

This famous hill is seen by many as Syrah’s spiritual home – with its rich, tannic wines evolving for decades and being much better when aged, while particularly good vintages can sell for thousands of pounds per bottle such is their flavour and renown. (Not that most normal people would re-mortgage their house for a bottle.)

The larger communes beside the tiny Hermitage appellation don’t come with quite the same kingly pedigree, generally because they don’t get the same angle of sun so don’t grow so consistently well, but they have similar terroir and are still very well-respected.

One of these is Crozes-Hermitage, and a very good tipple from here has recently been added to the Co-op’s range.

The intensely violet Delas Crozes-Hermitage - a 13.5 per cent drink made by a producer founded over 180 years ago in the heart of Hermitage, now led by a highly-regarded winemaker - is made of 100 per cent Syrah and is packed full of ripe black fruit cassis and spice. It is a decent price at £13.99.