BRASH HIGGINS ‘MRLO’ Merlot 2014
McLaren Vale, South Australia
I like that Brad Hickey, an American winemaker, made this Merlot. Why is that, do you ask? Back in 2004 there was an American film about wine called ‘Sideways’, that changed the opinion of many a wine drinker on Merlot when the protagonist angrily shouted, “If anybody orders Merlot I’m leaving! I am not drinking any [insert expletive] Merlot!” Such a statement was enough to dampen sales of Merlot around the United States. It was even felt here. Merlot became daggy to the industry and remained the humble comfort wine for those who chose not to care. So to have Mr Hickey make such a great example of the Merlot grape under his Brash Higgins label and subsequently tear down the daggy barrier sort of makes this come full circle. Merlot is back.
This example was not made just like any other wine. It was fermented in clay amphora vessels for six weeks, spent a little time in seasoned oak and had a wee 10% addition of Nero d’Avola to add acidity, tannin and some exoticness. The result is a wine with a hint of purple fruits but dominated by savoury characteristics such as black tea, marzipan and schist – a similar character that I have found in Brash Higgins’ other wines that were fermented in amphora. You will notice some smokiness to the finish and great balance with a restrained ripeness despite this being 14.5% alcohol.
Only 55 cases were made so keep an eye out for the Brash Higgins effect, which will turn old opinions on their heads.
Stockists: Harry & Frankie, Port Melbourne and The Town Mouse, Carlton
FRIENDS OF PUNCH Denton Vineyards Shiraz 2012
Yarra Valley, Victoria
Whoever decided to make a wine label that doesn’t actually tell you very much knew how to attract the curious minded. Case in point with this wine by Punch Vineyards. Only by turning over the figure of a goblin-like creature in a love heart on the front label, would you know that this was crafted out of cool-climate Shiraz fruit from the Denton vineyard in the Yarra Valley by two guys who know what they’re doing, winemakers Behn Payten and Gary Mills. A little further research informs us that is was made using all whole bunches, was foot stomped and then matured in old French barrels for 16 months.
The result for this Shiraz is an explosive aroma bomb showcasing sweet notes of blueberries and blackberries mixed with bitter herbs, some tar and a touch of paprika. It may seem like an odd mix, but it works really well as a medium-bodied offering complemented by a full textured palate and a savoury dryness to the finish. Try it with a simple pizza Magherita or chicken marinated with paprika.
Stockist: Direct from Punch
I have been well aware for some time that my blog has become a bit of a bore. I assume that my long-time subscribers hang on to the now monthly post in the hope for something other than a wine review. The trouble was, and has been, that life just got a little busy. In the last two years there have been several key life-changing events that took over my time: changing jobs, getting engaged, planning a wedding, looking for a house, buying said house with a lot of garden, tending to garden, renovating the house, oh, and getting married.
So to try and appease the situation, I thought I would post something that I do not seem to be doing so well lately: offering a great piece of wine writing by someone else – the talented Ron Saw with his piece called Snore (an apt title for this post too).
SNORE by Ron Saw
Sourced from The Australian Wine Browser, published 1979.
Here are a few wines to tempt your loved ones this upcoming Valentines Day.
For those in love with our ol’ Melbourne town and interested in a little history lesson, then stop, sit down and take a look at this little treasure: Video footage taken of Melbourne life in 1910.
These were the days when men and boys wore caps, trilbies, bowlers and boaters. Also noticeable are their fobs holding the pocket watches. Ladies wore large ostrich feathered hats and their dresses were full length. Flinders Street Station was busy as usual and Abbotsford Ale was the main brew in those days.
Sourced from KrisofferPaulsen Tumblr