McLaren Vale, Australia
$23.99 in Chapel Hill, NC
Color: Inky strawberry
Nose: Berries, graham cracker, a little heat
Middle: Ice cream sandwich
Back: Blueberry, pepper
Burns clean?: Yes, if you don’t drink too much
This another excellent wine made by Sarah and Sparky Marquis (which I think is pronounced markwiss). It’s a whopper, true to its name. But the metaphor breaks down quickly: this is not one to go into the ring with alone. Bring friends and tag team unless you are a Fight Club aficionado. Strong as it is, the texture is soft and sparkly.
Like most things, it needs to breathe a bit. Once it opens up it’s astonishingly complex. If you get a newer one, consider this unusual recommendation by the winery. And I’m serious about the ice cream sandwich, by all that is holy. Oddly a good combination, all things considered, with the Stilton I’m eating tonight from the world-famous Wheatsville Co-op.
Note, 13 January 2010: I tried the 2008, with a chicken and chorizo stew. Raspberry jam, black cherry, pie, a little hint of mint, and plenty of oak lending a nice creaminess (like the 2006), without too much of a milk flavor. I think I like this more, actually, than the 2006, and it has enough fruitiness in there to develop for a little while.