Müller-Thurgau and Pinotage are obviously very different in that one is a white grape and the other is red. Another striking difference is that one comes from the Northern hemisphere and the other from the Southern hemisphere.
Despite these vast differences, both varietals are similar in that they are the product of varietal crossings. The parents of Müller-Thurgau are Riesling and Silvaner. Riesling, a cool climate varietal, possesses intense fruit flavors and complex mineral components, but sometimes has problems ripening. Silvaner, on the other hand, tends to be a hardier varietal which ripens in sites where Riesling can’t. So, you put them together to create Müller-Thurgau. Then you have the best of both worlds, intense flavors and complexity in a grape that can ripen in the most challenging of places.
Pinotage is a varietal crossing between Pinot noir and Cinsault. Pinot noir, as we all know, is a fickle varietal, which is a challenge to grow if the conditions and soil are not just so. Despite that, it can possess the most incredible fruit flavors with a variety of spice notes. South Africa, the home of Pinotage, has brutal terrain making pinot noir nearly impossible to grow. Cinsault, on the other hand, prolifically grows where no other grape can. When you combine these together, you get incredibly complex fruit that can grow in the most adverse conditions.
But the best thing that both Müller-Thurgau and Pinotage have in common is that they’re both really good to drink.
Annette Solomon, CS