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Ask Dr. Vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

Does the grape Pinotage have thick skins like Cinsault? Or did it inherit the thin skins of Pinot Noir? Are Pinotages more like Pinot Noir or Cinsault?

—Julio O., Monterrey, Mexico

Dear Julio,

As you know, the red grape Pinotage is indeed a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault. It was created in South Africa in 1925, which is where you’ll still find most Pinotage. The grape has a relatively thick, rot-resistant skin. I think Pinotage is unique—it’s neither a Pinot Noir nor a Cinsault wannabe. Though wines made from Pinotage vary in style, most have red fruit flavors, sometimes with wild berry and banana notes. It can also have a brambly, earthy, smoky side.

—Dr. Vinny

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