Thorn Clarke – 2010 Shotfire Barossa Valley Quartage

NV_ThornClarke_Shotfire_Quartage3Some of you may already be acquainted with my love of rich, red wines.  You know the kind.  The kind that warm you up and wrap you in their deep aromas and flavors.  Perfect when the seasons start to change, and you’ve said your good-bye’s to summer’s Sauv Blancs, at least for now.  That’s the kind of wine that this evening begged for, even though the leaves haven’t changed yet.

I perused my wine rack to see what might hit the spot, and lo’ and behold, I came across this Australian lovely.  I already had a pot of thick bolognese on the stove, so (even though it’s not Italian) this would be perfect.  Perfect, but not without some effort.

Ok, a lot of effort.

After the foil wouldn’t let go for love or money, and the cork broke, and the ah-so failed to do its job, I did what any wannabe wine pro would do.  I grabbed an iced tea spoon and shoved the cork into the bottle.

So now that I’ve washed the kitchen down, and since my shirt has stopped dripping wine, I wanted to share with you a few thoughts on the wine.

In the glass this deep, opaque, leggy red was begging me to drink it.  As I turned the glass toward my nose, the rich aromas of cassis and dark currant rushed out of the glass.  I pulled my nose into the rim to discover violet and leather, with just a tiny bit of graphite swirling below.  A little cedar and eucalyptus were there, just around the edges.  The first sip was just wonderful.  Smooth and full, with black fruit and spice.  The acidity was perfect and lingering.  Just lovely.

This wine is a Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Merlot.  It has an alcohol of 14.5, but no real heat, which was a  pleasant surprise.

In retrospect, the effort was worth it.  Well worth it.

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Graffigna – 2008 Centenario Reserve Malbec

Malbec just seems like the right thing to drink when the leaves start to turn and the winds turn chilly.  We opened this wine for a casual evening at home – no frills – just to relax.  The aromas of red and purple fruit were very noticeable, and very nice, and warmed up a bit with just the tiniest bit of earthy tobacco.  The first sip was pleasant, with deep black cherry, a little spice and a touch of tobacco.  The alcohol was contained, despite the moderately high content (14%).  This wasn’t a highly complex wine, and the body and finish were both moderate, but all in all, not bad.  A nice value for the money.  It went very nicely with Istara Ossau-Iraty cheese and spiced green olives.

Bodega Norton – 2009 Malbec Mendoza Reserva

I just love the anticipation of a deep, dark red on a chilly evening.  I do enjoy malbec, with its depth and intensity.  I opened this wine to discover aromas of red fruit and plum, but a few unexpected notes as well.  A definite spice was in the air  – the cinnamon and eucalyptus unfolded within just a few moments of that first swirl.  I took a sip to find that the alcohol overwhelmed my tongue at first – not entirely unexpected with its 14.5% .  I found that after a few minutes, and several swirls, I was able to move beyond my first impression and found a rather lovely wine.  The tannins were pronounced and firm, and flavors of dark currant and plum danced together with spice.  The finish was fairly long, and let the ever-so-slight acidity leave my mouth watering.  I enjoyed this wine with a seared burger and side salad dressed in an intense fig balsamic, and the match was perfect.