On days when you just need a break, you want to take it slow, sit back and enjoy the sunshine, sip on something that quaffs easily, these are the wines for you. Both reds are sub-$30, the Celestial Bay Shiraz is relatively easy to procure. For David Lehman’s Smoking Jim Merlot, unfortunately I think it’s sold out, but do check out his entire line-up at the online store. Of note, try the HP Shiraz 2011 or the Howling Dogue Grenache Shiraz 2011 (both $25).
David Franz Smoking Jim Chopping Block Merlot 2010, Barossa Valley, SA
$33. Everyone hates merlot. Merlot just cops so much flak in Australia. It’s like the ugly reflection in the drunken mirror, unlike it’s pretty siblings Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc (different mothers even). But here’s a hard working Merlot that is sure to gain your appreciation. It may be simple in appearance, med++ crimson intensity, smells like a blackberry and bramble pie baking in a wood-fire oven, but slap it in your mouth and it’ll slide down your gullet like a berry sorbet. Blackberries, raspberries, red currents, hint of lime citrus, a core of bramble-like undertones. Where is the 14% alc? Dismiss those annoying tannins. Drink now -2016. 90.
Celestial Bay Shiraz 2010, Margaret River WA
$25 from winery or $17 from here. Intense purple colour, with a sweet spiced nose of blackcurrants, black olives, licorice and espresso roast. A smooth, elegant wine with rich acidity and coarse-grained tannins, but lovely blackcurrant and plum flavours, licorice and spice. Quite a persistent aftertaste, but not heavily clinging in the mouth. 15% alc. Would’ve been nice with some bbq’d lamb chops. Drink now. 88.
These wines disappeared along with a wee petit saucisson d’Arles (video).