Suburban Wino 2: The Wordpress Experiment

Bringin’ in the Southpaw | September 30, 2009

Sometimes, a severe writing funk just takes a cold, hard smack to the face.

That’s my impression of getting punched in the face. Pretty good, huh? What? Yes, that’s a “hulk hand”. Uh huh. I’m a thirty-year-old man. Yep, I got those hulk hands as a 30th birthday gift. No, I’m not single. Agreed. I don’t get it either.

Phantom conversation aside, and back to the clever metaphor. This wine pictured is a serious left-hook to the face. And it’s the cold-cocking that got me writing again…
But it all makes sense, doesn’t it? The brand is South Australia’s Mollydooker (means “left hander”), and the wine is the 2008 “The Boxer” Shiraz. How’s that for truth in advertising? Anyway, I’ve heard rave reviews on Twitter about this wine (and it fetched a 91 point score from Wine Spectator, whatever that means), priced anywhere from $20-25 clams in many retail stores. Not exactly the heist-of-the-year, but I’m not exactly saving up for any hot dates (see “hulk hands” conversation above).
Before I get into tasting notes, I do want to note that this wine is the absolute poster child for Australian wines, especially for all of you learning wine. The Land Down Under- known for kangaroos, koalas, “Men At Work“, and “Midnight Oil” (sorry, I only know marsupials and 80’s rock bands)- is also a wine behemoth: the 9th largest producer in the world as of 2007 (source: wikipedia). However, the population of the entire nation is around 20 million, or that of New York State. For this reason, export is huge, and the Aussies check in at #4 (chalk it up to wikipedia again). With that daunting responsibility to keep the world (especially the U.S.) nice and toasty, Australia wine often focuses on a very marketable style: ready-to-drink, with softer tannins and big fruit flavors. Basically, if you were that guy that spiked the punch at the high-school sock hop, you’ve got a little Colin Hay in you.

“The Boxer” is no exception to the rule. Made from at least 85% Shiraz (aka “Syrah” in France and the States), it’s already got a heavy-duty pedigree. On the nose, I get pretty intense black cherry, raspberry, spice, pepper, eucalyptus, and grape “Big League Chew“…kind of a fake fruit-punch flavor. Usually, the nose is where I make my assessment of whether I like the wine. However, this one’s a real pipe bomb in the mouth. Tons of dark fruit, black pepper, vanilla, cinnamon, guava (? …just going by the notes, folks), cherry, berries, and charcoal. The mouth-drying tannins are definitely there, but they’re pretty smooth, especially considering that this is a 2008 wine (granted, that comes earlier in the Southern Hemisphere). Oh, yeah. The alcohol by volume is on the bottle at 16%. You feel it in your nostrils, you taste it in the wine. It’s THERE, but integrated pretty well for being that high.
Overall, a pretty good wine. I’ve got no problem with big flavors, a lot of fruit, and high alcohol. I could see how I’d get sick of it if I only drank typical Australian wines, but that’s yet another reason why wine is so interesting. The incredible subtleties and delicacy of a European wine may be manifested in a COMPLETELY different style somewhere else in the world, even though the grape may be the same. Such examples are a great way to learn how climate, soil, irrigation, and winemaking can manipulate the final product. Furthermore, one can start to learn what styles go better with food, and what go better with a tidy buzz.
Speaking of food, this massive wine befuddled me. What to pair it with?
Lamb? Possibly, but I’m thinking more beastly…
A dirty, dirty wild hog? Getting warmer…
Patterson’s Bigfoot? That may be the kind of gaminess this wine needs, and it would really bring new meaning to the prospect of Messin’ with Sasquatch.
Alls I know is that you need to approach “The Boxer” with caution. I’m on night two with this bottle, and there’s still plenty to go. Drink it all in one sitting, and you may end up like this:

Eureka! Wendy’s hamburgers it is! So raise your glasses to getting that writing groove back (hopefully- you’re the judge of that), those winemaking blokes down south, and to finding the perfect pairing: Cheers, Sláinte, L’Chaim, Salud, Prost, Skål, Konbe, and Kampai!


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