Moxie Sparkling Shiraz NV

mox.pngSome wines work a treat over a long, Summery lunch.  Others make a roast beef taste twice as good as it normally would (especially if consumed before dinner). In my constant quest to categorise wine according to its most suited purpose, this shall hereafter be known as “the wine that goes great with Dominos pizza on a night where you decide to chuck all the hard work you did last week in the gym because it’s rainy out and you just can’t be rooted walking on a treadmill for an hour.” Admittedly, a niche category, but one I suspect some of our valued readers can identify with.

Indeed, it can be hard to find a good pizza wine, and I don’t mean a good gourmet crocodile and chermoula pizza wine, but a good pepperoni, or a good ham and pineapple, pizza wine. When confronted with such nourishment, most options seem either to lack robustness (causing one to feel a sense of loss with every barely discerned sip), or are of an excessively Italianate manner (compelling a sense of approval, if not satisfaction). This sparking Shiraz from Langhorne Creek, though, seems to hit precisely the right note. 
Aromas of cured meat, spice, garlic, tomato and yeast; yes, a delicious slice of pizza indeed, after which smelling this wine is like inhaling a barrel full of crushed blackberries. It’s somewhat one-dimensional but, more importantly, cuts through heady flavours of pepperoni and crust with a thrust and parry of juicy black fruit and high toned vanilla. It’s pure fun, quite vulgar and, somehow, exactly what one wants to smell after a mouthful of savouriness. 
Being a sparkling wine, the mouthfeel is tingly and refreshing almost by default; again, a desirable trait when coupled with a potentially greasy, overpowering food like cheap pizza. As it is, any trace of oiliness is whisked away with each sip, leaving behind echos of sandalwood oak and your current waistline. It’s not a sweet wine, but neither is it excessively dry, so the fruit has fullness without becoming cloying or heavy with time in glass. As with several other Dowie Doole wines I’ve tasted, this seems designed for pleasurable drinking rather than contemplation; a worthy goal indeed.
The label design, which I feel compelled to reproduce here, suggests nightclubs, fast times and thoughtless consumption. To me, though, here’s a wine that makes fast food a bit special on a Monday night. 

Dowie Doole
Price: $22.50
Closure: Diam

Bleasdale Malbec 2005

There aren’t too many straight Malbecs made in Australia, although the variety continues to appear in many blends, sometimes as a regional specialty (as with Cabernet Sauvignon in the Clare Valley, for example). Chris’s partner Dan is something of a Malbec enthusiast, so it is in his honour that I taste this wine tonight. 

Awfully grand intro for a $A15 wine, no? Yet this is full of interest and tasty to boot. The nose shows a nice array of aromas, including slightly jammy red and black fruits, dense brambles baking in hot Summer sun, mint lollies and what seems like rather raw oak, vanillan and sappy in equal measure. Somehow, it strikes the same pose as an Italian pastoral art movie from the 70s; rough around the edges yet vividly sensual, all in slightly porno-like soft focus. I’ve never compared wine to an adult movie before, so this must be doing something right. 
In the mouth, a big rush of Langhorne Creek goodness. It’s just as minty as the aroma, which is to say noticeably so without being offensive, and more importantly has the generous rush of flavour that seems to characterise this region’s red wines. Bang; immediately on entry there’s rich fruit flavour, a little baked perhaps, plus a lively mouthfeel that owes its character to a decent whack of acidity. This acidity isn’t that well integrated but, given the style of wine, its robustness works acceptably well. Intensity of flavour remains decent throughout, never peaking or troughing at any stage, nor scaling any particular heights. The acid-driven after palate brings a slightly medicinal edge to the flavour profile, before a nice long finish of red fruits and fine, dry tannins. 
Totally unsophisticated, totally enjoyable. Not a bad companion to the consolations of another Monday evening. 

Price: $A15
Closure: Stelvin

Langhorne Creek Area Red Blend 2003

Only this afternoon I was listening to Max Allen’s Crush podcasts, which briefly discuss various Australian wine regions in Mr Allen’s typically fanciful style. The episode on Langhorne Creek discusses at some length the relative invisibility of this South Australian region, although plantings there are extensive. Fortuitously, I came across this wine when rummaging through the “cellar” at home. Not only is it a Langhorne Creek wine, but (according to the back label, anyway) is made expressly to showcase the region’s qualities. “Created” by Cellarmasters but made at Bleasdale, the wine was assembled from several growers’ grapes;