Art Wine Tempranillo 2010


I am a junky for the weird and wonderful (when it comes to grapes, in many other aspects of my life I’m decidedly pedestrian) and I’m pretty sure the first time I came across Art Wine was the Graciano. If I recall correctly, I used that wine for a spot of corporate training where it was very well received.

Graciano is a grape that hails from Rioja, where it plays second fiddle, and then some, in the quantity stakes to Tempranillo.

I am quite a fan of Spain (go out and buy the latest edition of James Halliday’s Wine Companion Magazine to read about my adventures in Rioja) and I think there’s plenty of good wine being made in South Australia from grapes of Spanish origin. The wines produced here are quite different in character to those which originate on the Iberian peninsula, but they are delicious (and often very approachable) wines.

The Art Wine Tempranillo definitely falls into this category. You won’t be mistaking it for a Rioja (well, I wasn’t) but it is a lovely, moreish wine. This wine lasted three days in our household and my tasting notes were written on day 2. I thoroughly enjoyed it on all three days … and of course by day three I was disappointed that there was little more than a glass left in the bottle.

In the glass, the wine is very dense and purple in colour, just tending to ruby.

The nose is reasonably pronounced and red fruit dominated: think red cherry and raspberry jam, but there is something savoury lingering in the background.

The palate reflects this with some added complexity. There’s good acidity and soft tannins, and while there is a ton of fresh black and red fruit, it is balanced by earthy notes and a decided savoury finish. One the second day the alcohol was slightly more apparent but the wine was still well balanced.

A really lovely wine and one which I would buy again without hesitation.

$26 from Cellarbrations, Flagstaff Hill.
14.0% abv.

Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch 2010 Merlot Lagrein Tempranillo


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