With Richard Slater & Grant Foulkes
2018 Majella “Musician” Cabernet/Shiraz,
Coonawarra, South Australia 14.5% RRP $19
This “old-fashioned” blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (72%) and Shiraz (28%), from a respected red wine area delivers startling quality for the price. Many blends are leftovers, or an attempt to rescue one component with another; this wine has been expertly assembled and is flat-out delicious. It looks vibrant– the colour of dark plums with crimson highlights, scents of blackcurrant, a waft of mint and dried herbs. Slinky, abundant flavours of dark fruits and violets are complemented with spice, pepper and a touch of milk chocolate – a graceful potpourri. Sleek tannins, vitality, and balance make the wine a winner. It’s not meant to be cellared forever, but although alluring already, a few more years in a dark cool place (even a box in the cupboard), will guarantee smiles when opened.
Conclusion: Lamb, lamb or lamb is the ideal match, but tacos, sausages, a robust casserole or even a rich soup will provide a fabulous accompaniment to this wine.
Amo Vino 2020 Riverland Barbera,
South Australia 13.5% RRP $22
This surprising number was gifted to my wife for her birthday which she kindly shared with me on a chilly autumn evening and we were suitably impressed. The lesser known region of South Australia’s ‘Riverland’ is definitely on the radar now if this is the sort of quality we can expect. Plush, vibrant red fruits jump from the glass in an inviting bouquet. The palate, although luscious in its confectionery like cherry, raspberry and mulberry fruit profile, has a wonderful savoury edge of black tea and slate which sets this Barbera alight and screams quality. Sustainably farmed fruit, hand harvested, natural yeast ferment (30% of which is whole bunches) and 6 months to rest in seasoned oak all play their part in bringing about a subtle complexity to this wine which is just impossible not to enjoy.
Conclusion: Pair with bruschetta of fresh garden tomato, basil and a fig and date balsamic reduction for added sweetness.