Pinotage frightens me. Every experience I’d had with this South African grape was, shall we say, much less than favourable. So imagine my surprise when I asked Shane Gibson (co-author of Sociable!) what wine he’d pair with his new book and he answered, “Pinotage.” I quickly told him about my experience with this varietal wine and he just as quickly told me I simply hadn’t had the right one—yet.
He was right.
Inniskillin has taken to growing varieties of grapes not largely cultivated in B.C. From those grapes they produce small lots of what we call varietal wines—wines produced from one grape variety only. I’d tried their Sangiovese, Malbec and Zinfandel varietals, with happy results, so thought I’d give the 2006 Pinotage ($29.99/13.5% ABV) a go. I’m glad I did.
This wine was fruity, smoky, spicy and earthy, with soft, workable tannins. There was even something a little tropical about it (my brain kept asking, “bananas?”). It paired well with dinner of grilled strip loin steaks, roasted potatoes and Caesar salad and was just as nice to drink all on its own.
I’m not scared any more.
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A little wine Q&A with author, speaker, and social media sherpa, Shane Gibson
Shane Gibson, co-author of Sociable!, heads straight for red—red wine, that is.
What is your everyday, go-to red wine?
What is your everyday, go-to white wine?
As for white wine, Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris is the one he calls his go-to.
What is your overall favourite wine?
“After living in South Africa for a couple of years, I must say that I really like South African Pinotage. Trouble is, getting good ones in B.C. is almost impossible.”
Tell us your favourite food-and-wine pairing.
Very few people hesitate with this question and Gibson is no exception: “Thai food and a bold Cabernet Savignon such as the Casillero del Diablo or Don Melchor from Concha Y Toro.”
Which one wine would you take with you if you were about to be deported to a deserted island?
“Assuming that I would be hunting boar on this deserted island, the Summerhill Pinot Noir, which would pair well, is my pick.”
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Value from the vines
Chile’s Cono Sur Pinot Noir ($11.49/13.5% ABV) is a great value-priced, entry-level red wine.
Stuffed full of strawberry and raspberry aromas and flavours, this Pinot Noir is fruity, juicy, light and cheerful, with tannins that are hardly noticeable, which makes it a good choice for white-wine drinkers who want to make the transition to red.
While it’s not meant for deep analysis, this wine is fun and pairs well with many foods: think salmon, Asian-influenced pork chops or chicken.
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Copyright © 2010 Kathleen Rake. All rights reserved.