Each month, we pull together a pairing of wines for our Inspired Wine Club members. And usually, though without any seriously concerted effort, some kind of connection emerges. Maybe they’re both perfect for holiday dinners. Perhaps they help battle the seasonal heat or chill. Or maybe they showcase a certain region. This time, as we start the wondrous month of May when spring blossoms fully with big meaty iris, and our porch swings are beckoning, we figured what our wine club members wanted most was just equally perfect wine.
So, ta-dah! We present a phenomenal Australian Shiraz and a California Cabernet Sauvignon that are both lovely red wines and neither requiring a corkscrew. Beyond that, all we can say is that we love them and have a strong hunch you will too. Just read on:
2012 Mr. Riggs Boltier Shiraz, South Australia
The winemakers here pride themselves on starting this wine with high-grade fruit. And it’s exactly that emphasis on quality ingredients and processes (aka craftsmanship!) that brought this wine to our attention. It is a luscious example of Shiraz – a jammy wine with a long, soft, juicy palate reminiscent of red fruits and blackberries and just a hint of licorice. This is a gorgeously drinkable wine that obviously pairs well with grilled, garlicky lamb from the land down under, but also because of its medium-bodied nature goes well with Asian or Indian fare. It can also be cellared for seven years if you have that sort of self-control.
2013 Plungerhead Cabernet, Alexander Valley, Calif.
With 100% Cabernet grapes, this is a fantastic sipping wine that starts with a nose full of berry goodness. Think blackberry compote, dried Bing cherries and pomegranate all packaged up in a comforting earthy package of goodness with those hints of vanilla that come with oak barrel aging. On the palate, that same fruitiness follows through in a mouthful of deep berry with chocolate, tarragon and coconut notes. This is a lovely balanced wine that will marry marvelously with that first grilled porterhouse steak of the season.
Photo credit: Sid Mosdell via Flickr
We would be lying if we didn’t say that we’re a little weary from the weather. That’s really not so different from other years. It’s always at the beginning of March, when those 31 days looming before us seem much longer than any other month of the year. The calendar and the groundhog can try to reassure us that spring begins later this month, but on days where icy sleet and snow refuse to go away, it just feels like winter’s last push to show us what it’s got. Well, here at Hinsdale Wine Cellars, we’re not taking it lying down. This month, we offer Inspired Wine Club members two wines to fortify us against the final surges of cold. And if the wines themselves aren’t beautiful enough on their own to rekindle your hope in the return of bon printemps, then maybe at least one of the wine’s names certainly will bring a smile to your face as you visualize yourself soon to be walking in gardens filled with tulips, jonquils and hyacinths.
Rob Murray ‘Force of Nature,’ Paso Robles, California
Now here is a red blend that is sure to warm the cockles of your heart, as you pull the fuzzy blanket throw a little tighter, sitting before a raring fire. With 67% Merlot, 11% Cabernet, 11% Syrah, 11% Petite Sirah and in 20% new French oak barrels, this is one of those velvety smooth reds that will nurture you into a sublime feeling of omnipotence, despite its marketing cries of not being able to “command nature” and to just “obey” it. Its lovely inky purple hue and nose of dark fruits and hints of anise offer a beautiful start to the wine experience. It then explodes on the palate with ripe fruit flavor (cherry, blackberry and plums!), smooth tannins and a long finish of balanced acidity. This is the kind of hearty red you yearn for with a final beef daube stew, yet it’s also a great sipper hearthside. Recommend decanting an hour prior.
Domaine des Terres Falmet Cinsault, Cebazan, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
We love how this wine surprises and delights. Cinsault has long been a maligned French varietal that winemakers often only harvest to blend or make into Rosé. However, with Yves Falmet’s attentive grape growing and wine making, he has hand-harvested these modest grapes from their 50+ year-old vines and transformed them into something artful and delicious. While Cinsault is known for its ability to soften other varietals, Falmet produces a concentrated and balanced wine, using only this varietal. The result is indeed a silky medium-bodied red, with hints of raspberry and blueberry flavors. No question, this is a delicate wine with very soft tannins, but it also makes it very versatile and food friendly, pairing well with a garlicky grilled pork roast as well as it would your pistachio-crusted tuna steaks with papaya salsa.