Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch 2010 Merlot Lagrein Tempranillo

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Well, isn’t that a mouthful and a half?! I first became aware of the Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch brand way back in 2009 when Andrew Barrow wrote about the Shiraz and Chardonnay, which were being sold in the UK by Naked Wines. Brand awareness in place, it’s been ‘on the list’ ever since. Which shows you that I need more time, more money and quite possibly some kind of reserve liver.

Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch is a label produced by Plunkett Fowles in Victoria’s Strathbogie Ranges. In addition to the Chardonnay and Shiraz, the stable also consists of a Riesling and this unfamiliar blend of Merlot, Lagrein and Tempranillo.

There’s an awful lot I could write about this wine but that would make for one long blog post, so I’ll focus on the quirkiest aspect of this wine: the Lagrein. Lagrein hails from, and is indeed native to, Alto Adige in north eastern Italy. Wine Grapes tells us that it’s been written about since the fourteenth century and has a complicated family tree (including being a cousin of Shiraz and a grandchild of Pinot!). Got to love DNA analysis!

In Italy, where it is found in Trentino as well as Alto Adige, it is often blended but varietal wines are allowed by both DOCs. There are quite a few Australian producers, and I’ve enjoyed it before in a Heartland wine, where it was blended with Dolcetto. There are also a few Californian producers – although with just 31 hectares in 2008 I think we’d struggle to find those wines in Australia.

Wine-geek talk over, the thing to take away is that this is an unusual blend and you’re unlikely to find parallels within Australia, let alone in European wines. In many ways, this is a good thing because it means you can come to the wine with no expectations.

In the glass the wine is a very pretty ruby colour, which is reasonably dense. The nose is quite pronounced and initially comes across as a touch alcoholic, but it has a fabulous warm spice aroma, with a hint of herbaceousness. There are also black plums and black cherries with a touch of vanilla and dark chocolate. This is a pretty complex nose and there’s plenty there to think about and also to struggle to pin down!

In the mouth, this wine is all black plum with slightly earthy characters and chocolate and vanilla. There’s really good acidity and the wine finishes with a real flush of fresh fruit, including sour cherry. The tannins are very soft: unless you put in serious thought you won’t spot them but I suspect you’d miss them if they weren’t there! The length is good, but if you want to be really picky you could complain that it rather flatlines with the sour cherry.

I loved this wine. Don’t come to it expecting big, bold fruit flavours or mouth drying tannins because you’ll leave disappointed. But if you want a wine which is immensely drinkable, with some lovely complexity, and that is extremely food friendly, then you’ve come to the right spot.

I’d also like to commend Plunkett Fowles for the comprehensive tasting note on the website. If you want the nitty gritty on this wine, take a read! I wish more wineries provided this level of detail.

This wine was purchased from Belair Fine Wine for $30. It’s worth every penny.
Closure: screw cap
13.5% abv

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