A Friday Afternoon Indulgence and an Odd New Accessory

Ken Forrester Pinotage and the Moltes GewurztraminerThe tasting this week was a study in contrast: the whimsical, airy notions suggested by an Alsatian Gewurztraminer and the dirty, heavy-handed character of a South African Pinotage. The Gewurz, a 2008 from Moltes, is a $15.00 gem from Alsace, the eastern-most region of France that borders north of Switzerland and west of Germany. The Pinotage, a 2009 Ken Forrester wine from the Stellenbosch valley in southwestern South Africa, offers a hybrid grape from a terroir nearly 6000 miles away from the cradle of its ancestors in Languedoc and Burgundy.

The Gewurztraminer came highly recommended by Jen, the manager of the Hillsborough Wine Company, one of my favorite local spots to get my wine. I was initially dazzled by the depth of the wine,  with golds and yellows and greens all swirling about depending on where the light caught. The nose was fairly typical for a Gewurztraminer, with floral, tropical, and very slightly grape-y scents. The flavors, though, were unexpectedly complex. Orange zest, lavender, passion fruit, pineapple, and, again, a light grape make an appearance on the palate, with the pineapple overtaking on the finish.

I’m not a Gewurztraminer fan, but when they’re done right, whoo boy, they don’t disappoint.

The Pinotage was received much more coolly. I can definitely understand the lack of enthusiasm; it was simply too young. We gave it a pass through this Menu decanting system, designed to decant and aerate the wine then pour back into the bottle. Maybe we can’t age it in a hurry, but ideally we can at least let it open up to its potential.

What we got from this wine was a consensus of wrong wine, wrong time. This was a very smoky, very sour, albeit very smooth, experience, with aggressive tannins and a heavy-handed flavor. We found it very savory, making it an ideal pairing for barbecue ribs, something that will take the edge off the smoky flavor and allow the red fruits to shine through. The nose gave us a suggestion of what the flavor could become, with a bright cherry shining through the meatiness. Because I neglected to bring in some food for the tasting, however, the world may never know.

At least the Menu decanter was a rousing success. A good, even cascade, solid seal that held a 750ml bottle firmly in place, and a gasket that didn’t spill a single drop while pouring either into the bottle or out. Though one might question the wisdom of decanting a bottle then refilling it, at least from an aesthetic point, the convenience of pouring from a bottle rather than a decanter cannot be overstated.

What do you think? Is this product’s feature a solid idea or merely a gimmick? Would you rather be serving a decanted wine from a decanter, or is the bottle the preferred vessel for when you’re entertaining?

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4 Responses to “A Friday Afternoon Indulgence and an Odd New Accessory”

  1. Cybercellar Says:

    Nice to see another blogger joining the wine world! Especially young bloggers supporting South African wine :-) Hope you don’t mind me asking but what Vintage is this KF Pinotage?

    Ken Forrester producers outstanding wines and likes to push the envelope slightly with lesser known varieties such as Grenache and Chenin Blanc. If it’s less expensive you’re after then do try his Petit Chenin!

    If you need any South African suggestions, we’re based in the heart of it (Franschhoek, South Africa) and have been around for quite a while now…always happy to help :-) plus we’re launching in the USA in a couple months, exciting!

    Will keep reading.


    • wineaccguy Says:

      Oops, a major omission on my part. It was a 2009, which would help explain the youth of the wine to my readers.

      I was definitely impressed with the character of the Pinotage despite its youth, and I’d be more than happy to sample more of Ken Forrester’s offerings.

      Certainly keep me appraised of your launch… I’m happy to support online wineries in the States!

  2. GoAskSean Says:

    Interesting decanter I think it would help if you were going to decant several bottles over the course of an evening.

    I do enjoy a good Pinotage.

  3. Menu Wine Breather Review | mmamixedmartialarts.info Says:

    [...] Here’s some more discussion about the Menu Wine Breather from wine(accessorized)  [...]

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