As fall creeps into the weather pattern, so does my need for red wine. I despise being part of a stereotype but something in the chilly air calls for the beefier stuff. That’s where Shiraz from Australia’s McLaren Vale comes in. Especially the good stuff from Two Hands.
A partnership between two Aussie blokes, Michael Twelftree and Richard Mintz, Two Hands was founded in 1999 using the “négociant” system of wine production: They buy juice, fruit or finished wine from a grower and create their own blend. Then, they bottle and label it under their name. In 2004, they hit paydirt when Robert Parker pronounced them “the finest négociant operation south of the equator”. Prices went batty but success and greed thankfully didn’t force them into mass production. They’re still pretty small and still pretty pricey but you’re getting a lot of wine for the dollar.
All of the fruit for this wine comes from McLaren Vale (which I wrote about here), a region known for producing silky, feminine-style wines. Just the way I like ’em. 2008 Angel’s Share Shiraz is redolent with sweet roasted cherries, raspberries and dark chocolate. But it also sports some hefty tannins, fragrant coconut, herby eucalyptus, vanilla oak and a whiff of black pepper on the finish. You can tell it’s 15.5% alcohol but somehow, you don’t care…. layers upon layers upon layers of fruit. Quality stuff.
Sweetness: 3 out of 10
Rating: 4.5 stars
Occasion: Tasted at a wine bar in Tampa
Food pairing: sip it or pair with braised meats.
Availability: On restaurant wine lists and high-end retail.