Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Dreaming Tree, 2009 $15

Napa, CA

I've never been a fan of celebrity wines yet this one was on sale for $13 so I decided to leave my attitude aside for a try.  The wine making collaboration is Dave Matthews (musician) and Simi wine maker Steve Reeder.  I honestly wasn't expecting much from this however it was a pleasant surprise. Overall, this is a good everyday drinking red that you won't have to overly analyze.

Aromas of ripe strawberry, raspberries and hints of smoky oak gave it a respectable balance worth the price point. Flavors complimented the aromas by bringing out a fruit forward raspberry jam with subtle tannins. The smoky oak was just enough for me, not overly done. This would be a good pairing with grilled pork, chicken or even pasta with crushed tomatoes and garlic.

There's no information for the blending varietals on the label, however tasting notes share that it's a blend of 67% Merlot and 33% Zinfandel.  With oak aging for 19 months, I can see why I like the hints of oak this wine carries.  The story behind these 2 guys is definitely entertaining and interesting. You gotta love their take on life and the path traveled to make these wines.  Their sustainable efforts are to be applauded as well.  

A Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are available as well. You shouldn't have a hard time finding this at your local wine shop or even grocery store.  Distribution is nation-wide (USA) by Constellation Brands.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Mollydooker Wines

McLaren Vale, South Australia

Imagine visiting your best friend’s home, feeling like family during your entire stay and when leaving, not wanting to say goodbye.  You await the next opportunity to get together and wish it’d be sooner than later.  Nothing better describes my visit to Mollydooker, which I’ll remember for a lifetime.

From a guy working on landscaping to the general manager, everyone greeted us with a warm welcome, bright sense of humor and passion for making great wines.  If this is what owners and winemakers Sarah and Sparky Marquis have instilled in their team, then it’s evident how they’ve earned so many positive recognitions and high ratings over the past years.

Our day began with one of the most in depth tours of a winery that I’ve had.  We had the pleasure of Lee (Sparky’s dad) share history, stories and ups and downs of how Mollydooker became what it is today.  Barrel tasting and learning how they determine the Marquis Fruit Weight™ were among the highlights.  You might ask about what “Fruit Weight” is all about.  Check here for a great explanation.  
Marquis Fruit Weight

After our tour of the winery, we sat down with our small group for a tasting and lunch with Lee and Janet (Sparky’s mom and general manager). 
I honestly didn't know what to expect when they said we'd have lunch as part of our visit.  An assortment of local cheeses, olives, cured meats, crusty bread with really good olive oil and sauté mushrooms fresh picked from nearby were delicious.  The food was tasty but even better, I think we tasted every Mollydooker wine!  Bottle by bottle the pouring seemed to never end and the great stories associated with their wines made this an experience I will treasure.

Some of my favorite wines probably won't surprise those of you familiar with Mollydooker.  Those interested in trying one for the first can't go wrong with any of them.  Seriously, not a pitch for them...their wines don't suck!

Starting with the "Lefty Wines", designed for everyday drinking. Generally priced moderately in the $20 range.

The Boxer - A Shiraz with dark cherry and spice filled flavors.  Voted Most Popular Shiraz on American wine lists 2008-2010, Wine & Spirits magazine.

Next were the "Party Wines" and in their words, "They'll make you the life of the party any where you take them."  Priced in the $40 range.

- Cabernet Sauvignon with aromas of dark berries, graphite and medium toasted wood followed by flavors of currants and blackberries.

Blue-Eyed Boy - One of the nicest Shiraz wines I've had.  From 12 months in oak, aromas of wood and earthy over tones filled the glass.  Ripe black berries and a velvety smooth feel on the tongue made this a special wine.  Top pick!

Lastly, the "Love Wines" which are their premium wines having the highest Marquis fruit weight and price point in the $90+ range.  "Ideal for all of life's celebrations."

Enchanted Path and Carnival of Love - Enchanted Path is a Shiraz/Cab blend.  A spicy, toasted wood aroma with hints of coffee.  Black stone fruit, blueberries and a subtle mineral like finish puts this wine in a category alone.  Carnival of Love was a full-bodied Shiraz showing hints of black pepper, plums and blueberries.  Cellaring these for 3-5 years could bring out even more pleasures.  Along with this, the very artistic design for both labels caught my attention.  If you place them together, they make a single picture with half being on each bottle's label.  Kind of like the old MAD magazine inside picture fold-overs to make a different picture.

If you've ever wondered about the name Mollydooker, it's Aussie for Left Handed.  As told to our group by Lee, Sparky & Sarah didn't have a name for their wines when they began.  One day around the family table names were being discussed when Lee brought up Mollydooker.  Apparently, the majority of people around the table were left-handed and the name stuck.

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