It was an exciting day recently when Dowie Doole’s new releases arrived at my door. As the producer of utterly unpretentious, highly drinkable McLaren Vale reds (in addition to be being somewhat of a Chenin Blanc specialist), I feel Dowie Doole’s wines engage the most appealing sides of the region’s character. The PR material that came with these samples informs me that a new winemaker, Chris Thomas, has been appointed, so I’m curious to see if any stylistic changes are the result.
I’ve a soft spot in particular for the regular Merlot, not because it’s a $60 wine in disguise, but for its extreme deliciousness of the pure plum variety. This 2010 version certainly has plenty of tasty fruit, but also shows an extra dimension of varietal character that I’ve not noticed before. Where previous releases have been all about luscious berries, this wine’s aroma has a distinctly herbal, green olive side that certainly adds complexity. It grants the wine an altogether more serious vibe, not angular or difficult so much as savoury and adult.
In the mouth, an elegant experience that, again, takes things up a notch from previous releases. It’s still utterly fruit-driven, to be sure, but with its moderate weight and cleanly articulated flavours, there’s a sophistication here that is most pleasing. A nice gravel note sits alongside poised red fruit and subtle oak, all supported by plentiful acid and raspy tannins. The line has a nice rise and fall, trailing off through the after palate and surprisingly long finish.
I’m really impressed with this wine. It shows a slightly different direction from earlier years, and part of me misses the simple fruitiness of those wines. There’s no denying, however, the appeal of what’s in my glass now.