One is hero of Australia and other plays well in South Africa. Though same in colour, these two grape varieties have different characteristics. So let’s check out all of them one by one in Shiraz vs Pinotage.
Shiraz is a dark-skinned, black grape producing red wines and the signature variety of Australia. Wine produced from this grape is called Shiraz in Australia and South Africa and Syrah in other parts of the world.
A red wine grape, Pinotage is South Africa’s signature red variety which produces deep red varietal wines. It’s a high-yielding variety.
Shiraz, on other hand, is at least 4 centuries-old variety (as documented) having its roots coming from France’s Rhone Valley. It was brought to Australia by James Busby – who’s known to be the father of Australian wine.
Pinotage is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut which was bred in 1925 by Abraham Izak Perold. He was the first Professor of Viticulture in South Africa’s oldest university Stellenbosch.
Shiraz grapes produce medium to full-bodied, dark red coloured wines. When aged on oak, Shiraz wines gain complexity on aromas, medium+ to high levels of tannins, and medium+ acid. Depending on the region where these grapes are grown, tasting notes may include flavours of blackberry, blueberry, black pepper, eucalyptus, licorice, coffee, chocolate, leather, and herbaceous earth.
Pinotage wines have smoky, bramble and earthy characters, and may also have notes of bananas and tropical fruit. Pinotage is often blended with Shiraz and other varieties. This variety also makes good fortified wines and red sparkling wines.
Shiraz is mainly planted in Australia, South Africa, the United States, Canada, and some other countries. Despite being genetically identical, the Shiraz grape from Australia tastes and looks different compared to its European siblings (Syrah), especially when grown in warm climates.
Apart from South Africa, Pinotage is also grown in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Israel, Zimbabwe and Brazil, with recent varietal experiments being done in Germany as well.
Shiraz wines are good to go with grilled or roast beef, big beefy stews, roast or grilled lamb, and strong hard cheeses especially cheddar.
Pinotage wines pair well with Chicken Bobotie, Biryani, Cape Malay Fish Curry, Braai, Boerewors, Curry Potjie, Beef Shin, tomato & olive stew.