It was two nights ago that I was at the Wine Spectator’s Grand Tour 2009. I was running out of time, skipping my way through a row of Australian producers, and as I passed the crowded Mollydooker table, I overheard the pourer (I didn’t catch her name) explaining the “Mollydooker Shake.”
I was amazed. A co-worker had told me, years ago, about how some people on the Internet (you know you can trust people on the Internet) said that the best way to enjoy a bottle of Mollydooker wine is to pour a bit into a glass, replace the Stelvin enclosure (screw cap) and shake the wine up a lot.
“I can’t believe you’re actually promoting that,” I said to the woman pouring the Mollydooker.
“We definitely are,” she said. “Oh! You work for Binny’s! Take these!” And she gave me a handful of Mollydooker promotional books, the back cover of which is dedicated to explaining the Mollydooker shake. She eagerly told me to check out their website, which even has a video explaining the ritual.
(A brief explanation: Apparently, the Mollydooker winemakers bottle their wines with nitrogen gas as a preservative. When the wine is young, the gas remains in the wine, messing with the flavors. So they invented this maneuver to release all the nitrogen.)
I was hyperactive and chatty when I got home, which I think was getting on my girlfriend’s nerves. Probably because she was trying to fall asleep. I told her about this whole ridiculous shake thing. She asked me what was so ridiculous about it. I told her that I want my wine to be good for its own sake. I said that I thought it was silly to invent new rituals to go along with wine. I said I didn’t want any gimmicks. I said I want it drinkable on its own merit.
“Rituals?” she said, “You mean like how you constantly swirl everything you drink? Even icewater?”
“Gimmicks?” she said, “You mean like that big decanter you have?”
“Drinkable?” she said, “You mean like all those wines you have in the wine cooler that we can’t open for years?”
“I’m just saying,” she said, “that it’s all pretty much a gimmick already.”
Okay, fine. I guess she got me; I guess she’s right. At least the wine gimmicks we know and love are gimmicks with tradition. Is there room for this new dance move, too? How about all those new gizmos – wine aerators and breathable glasses and magnetic pourers and so on?
People often lament the loss of the cork-pulling ritual as Stelvin enclosures grow in popularity. Maybe it’s time to introduce the Shake. Maybe we can even get waiters to do it in restaurants!
By the way, they don’t suggest excecuting the shake on Goosebumps, their sparkling shiraz. That could only end badly.