There’s something both fun and savvy about the way this wine is marketed; indeed, about what this wine is. The label design for starters, which caused me to laugh out loud when I pulled the bottle from its box, calls out the initials of its constituent grapes. Being a fan of gin and tonic, I immediately thought of satisfyingly fresh aromatics and a vaguely medicinal effect. More to the point, though, I thought of fun, ease and casual sophistication. Not a bad association to make given a new wine label.
The style here carries through, presenting a McLaren Vale spin on the easygoing vibe of a Rioja joven. The nose shows unmistakably fruity Grenache alongside some soft oak influences — light nougat and caramel — and a darker, more funky angle that, perhaps, is driven by the Tempranillo component. It’s fresh and fun, provided you are OK with a fruit sweet aroma profile, and its complexities are expressed as cuddliness rather than anything more intellectual.
The flavour profile is absolutely in line with the aroma, showing juicy red fruits, rhubarb, some sunlit brambles and gentle caramel oak. It’s light to medium bodied, with a solid attack of confectionary fruit, leading to a middle palate that is all about deliciousness. The flavours are fleet of foot, registering then moving quickly on, never allowing time to be fully savoured or indeed examined too closely. This is deceptively sophisticated; there’s something impressive about making a wine seem so effortless. A fairly light after palate, with a smattering of grainy tannins, leads to a vibrant finish of average length.
There are some things one could object to here; the fruit is quite sweet, the structure very light, the concept derivative. But, as with my experience of the Dowie Doole portfolio generally, drinkability and real world satisfaction are put ahead of intellectual conceit and pretentious winemaking. I’m having a serious craving for croquettes.