This exciting edition (is there any other kind?) of Tales of the Purple Monkey has Plumboo (that's the monkey) and me taking on one wine, but in three slightly (but importantly) different ways.
Last week, I participated in several Twitter Taste Live events, one of them being co-hosted by BinEndsWine.com and DrVino.com titled "Drink Local!" in which we reviewed local (to the reviewers., that is) wines. My previous post on the event has more background detail (and a recap of the twitter conversations).
Because I'm a homer, and I'm lazy, I decided to kill two birds with one stone. I reviewed Penns Woods' 2004 Ameritage Reserve (a Bordeaux style red blend), but with a twist - I presented the wine in three different "formats":
- Poured directly from the bottle
- Decanted 3+ hours before serving
- "Decanted" directly from the bottle using a wine gadget called the Wine Soiree.
Anyway, according to the Wine Soiree website and promotional materials, it is supposed to function somewhat like a decanter, using the principle of aeration. Wine contains many volatile chemicals that impart aroma, flavor, and also help to integrate a wine's components so that it tastes better. Exposing those volatile components to air starts the process. This is one reason why decanting hefty red wines for a time before drinking them helps to make the wine more accessible and softer.
I poured all of my "versions" of the Penns Woods Ameritage into identical ISO tasting glasses (because I'm a nerd and I do own those, thank you very much) and had a go at each in comparison.
The result? Check out the following excerpt from my twitter feed during the Twitter Taste Live event:
|1winedude: #ttl Yo yo YO! I'm tasting 2004 Penns Woods Ameritage Reserve. Cab, Merlot, Cab Franc, Sangiovese, & whatever other reds the winemaker (Gino Razzi) wants|
|1winedude: #ttl I did a little experiment. I have 3 glasses of the same wine, but each is different...|
|1winedude: #ttl #1 was poured directly from the bottle. #2 was decanted 3+ hrs. #3 was poured using that in-bottle Soiree decanter thing-y|
|1winedude: #ttl #1 direct from the bottle: smoke (a LOT of it); cedar; black currants; a little rough around the edges on the tannins; good finish|
|1winedude: #ttl According to Mrs. Dudette: "It's like licking a chimney there's so much smoke! But in a good way."|
|1winedude: #ttl #2 decanted 3+ hrs: MUCH smoother, with more dark cherry; the oak is more integrated and the finish seems to go forever...|
|1winedude: #ttl I might be still tasting this finish tomorrow when I brush my teeth in the morning!!!|
|1winedude: #ttl #3 'decanted' via the soiree: has the currant & cedar elements of #1, but not as integrated as #2; finish is la bit onger than #1|
|1winedude: #ttl This Soiree does something... and it seems good to aerate a wine in a pinch or when a decanter is not available.|
|1winedude: #ttl As for the wine itself - very good, not his best vintage tho. The 2005 has more promise; 2002 is... well... freakin' sublime!|
|1winedude: #ttl This 04 is a bit too expensive for what it is, but it's a very, very well made Bord'x style blend. And YES it is from PA!|
|1winedude: #ttl So in summary: Penns Woods make a kick-ass wine, and the Soiree does actually do... something; but not as much something as a decanter|
As it turns out, the Soiree does indeed seem to aerate the wine... somewhat. For me, the Soiree doesn't compare to actual decanting, which in this experiment I found to be far superior. Still, I think the Soiree could work in a pinch if you are desperate to decant and/or to take the edge off of a serious red, but can't wait for proper decanting (winery tasting rooms come to mind).
It you can get past the sight of a Christmas tree ornament sitting on top of your wine bottle, that is.
(images: 1WineDude.com, drvino.com)