May 31, 2010

Diemersfontein Pinotage 2009

By Andrew Barrow In Food and Wine, Wine Notes

Diemersfontein Pinotage 2009

Now liver is one of those dividing dishes – you either love it or can’t abide the stuff. Me? I’m firmly in the lover category. One of my favourite food/wine matches is ‘Venetian Style’ Liver served with Sauvignon Blanc; I’ll have to blog about it one day.

But this is a red wine, another dividing food stuff though in being made from Pinotage, but a different style of Pinotage, the original ‘coffee and chocolate’ pinotage. An experiment which began 9 years ago to discover a style of Pinotage that would appeal to younger drinkers has created a unique style, the launch of which each year involves a vineyard party. Gone are the rustic edges, the off-putting rusty/rubber dimension (not that all Pinotage arrives with these characteristics of course) and in comes a toasted coffee and chocolate led palate, all down to toasting the oak in which the wine is aged apparently. There is a ripeness, a soft drinkability, a depth of sumptuousness that doesn’t really overpower the pinotage-ness of it all.

I can’t say I really picked up on any overly powerful coffee-style flavours being more entranced by the smokey, dark fruits and pepper notes. It’s young so expect more pruney edges to develop with age. It also went superbly with my liver dish!

Last year, while in South Africa, I was lucky enough to pick up a recipe collection by famed South African chef Reuben Riffel (Reuben Cooks, which I don’t think is available outside South Africa). Each dish comes with a wine recommendation and it just so happens the Pan-Fried Liver with Colcannon and Brown-Onion and Marsala Gravy was paired with Diemersfontein Pinotage! Result!
For those no-liver indulgers (bet you hate Marmite too!) the wine would be equally good with steak, game, and as Fiona Beckett suggests Moroccan spiced quail. For me though its the liver…

Red Wine Review/Tasting NoteWine Tasting Note: Diemersfontein Pinotage, 2009, Wellington, South Africa

[More on Adegga / Snooth]
Jack the Ripper: Robbie Coltrane largeness, blooded fruits, dragon scales(?), broken carriage wheels, but overly smooth and lusting as Johnny Depp, sans Absinthe. No Opium.
Scribblings Rating – 92/100 [4 out of 5]

A take on Reubens Pan-Fried Liver With Colcannon and Brown-Onion and Marsala Gravy
For the Liver:
  • button mushrooms

  • butter for frying

  • streaky bacon

  • liver (Reuben suggests veal, pig is more readily available)

For the Colcannon

  • potatoes

  • cabbage, shredded

  • spring onions, trimmed and chopped

  • milk

  • butter

  • nutmeg

For the rown-Onion and Marsala Gravy

  • butter

  • large onion peeled and thinly sliced

  • tablespoon flour

  • big splash Marsala

  • 250ml Beef Stock

  • Worcestershire Sauce

A dish of three sections. The Colcannon is mashed potato (you dont really need instructions for making mash do you?) with lightly cooked cabbage and spring onions stirred in, with plenty of butter and milk (or cream) and a grating of nutmeg and plenty of seasoning. The liver is the last to be cooked – quickly fried in butter to your liking (less than a minute per side). The bacon garnish has to be crispy streaky bacon.
The all important gravy is a little more involved. Cook the onions in butter, covered, until browned and soft. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute more. Add the Masala and stock and stir, season add a big splash of Worcestershire Sauce and simmer for 15 minutes or so.
The gravy in the photo has been reheated and is a little less runny than it should be.
reubens liver and colcannon

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  1. Giles June 1, 2010

    I had a couple of pinotages during my last trip to New Zealand. I was keen to give them a go in order to compare what the Kiwis were doing with the pinotages we had in South Africa last year. Having had several “burnt rubber” experiences with SA red wines over the years (and some whites too), I was intrigued to find exactly the same characters in the NZ pinotages. I know “burnt rubber” can affect other varieties, so it must be an expression of SA terroir to some extent; but it was fascinating to taste the same thing in NZ. Mind you, I don’t think “this tastes just like a South African pinotage” was what the lady as Ascension Vineyard wanted to hear…
    Best wishes
    ps I can’t stand liver!

  2. Kim Blanche July 24, 2010

    These wines from Diemersfontein are very difficult to find in the UK. Waitrose no longer stock this Pinotage but we found a complete range of Diemersfontein wines at Mostly Wine in Kirkcaldy, Scotland. They also do Mail Order. Tel. 01592 644184 or email for a list of these wines.


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