Showing posts with label australia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label australia. Show all posts

Friday, July 22, 2022

2020 Penny's Hill Malpas Road McLaren Vale Merlot


2020 Penny's Hill Malpas Road McLaren Vale Merlot

Situated in McLaren Vale which happens to be one of Australia's most exciting wine regions, here are things you would want to know about the Penny’s Hill Winery.


Established in 1988, this promising winery is named after the hill at the base of which it is located.

Considering this winery has all the elements of a great vineyard in place, the vines were planted in 1991 at the property in a unique narrow-row configuration to amplify vineyard productivity along with grape and wine quality.

In the year 1993, the newly-planted Malpas Road property was purchased, followed by an adjacent highly prized hay-producing paddock in 1996 that was planted to vines and named Goss Corner.

After wo years, the original Goss family homestead, ‘Ingleburne’ was added to the Malpas and Goss properties to reconnect to make it an entire holding.

Ownership & The Team

Founder Tony Parkinson passed on the ownership and management of the business to his good friend and fellow South Australian winemaker Warren Randall.

The team at Penny’s Hill is committed to growing outstanding fruit across their vineyard sites to deliver the finest wines possible. They reflect upon the site where the vines are planted. They are passionate enough to make sure that optimum flavour, balance and ripeness are present in the fruit during harvest time.

Winemaker at Penny’s Hill

A passionate and experienced winemaker, Alexia is a group winemaker for Penny’s Hill, The Black Chook & Thomas Goss brands, and a champion for the McLaren Vale wine region; in particular its Shiraz and Grenache varietals.

She has been in the winemaking in McLaren Vale since 2004 and has undertaken vintages in both France and Italy. Accountable for the production of many acclaimed wines, and no stranger to medals, trophies, awards and accolades both domestic and international, she has the ‘World’s Best Cabernet’ in 2016 for Penny’s Hill 2014 Edwards Road Cabernet accredited to her name.

She works closely with the viticulturist to maximise fruit quality and vine health. Her style includes crafting elegant, fruit-driven, single-vineyard estate-grown wines to best express the varying terroir of the three key sites: Penny’s Hill, Goss Corner and Malpas Road, with more company-owned vineyards now being used to source more fruit.

Winemaking at Penny’s Hill

The winemaking process at Penny’s Hill includes each fruit parcel harvested separately in small batches and individually nurtured throughout. The proximity of the vineyards to the winery ensures the selection and hand-picking of particular fruit parcels for a “small batch” approach to winemaking, enabling more options at final blending.

At each step of the winemaking process, the wines are gently guided to bring out the ultimate balance of texture, complexity and interest.

The Malpas Road and Goss Corner vineyards have black Bay of Biscay clay that helps produce wines that are rich and luscious with a soft, round finish. However, the Penny’s Hill vineyard with sandy loam over clay soil produces wines with a perfumed bouquet and a high level of fruit intensity and fine tannin structure.

The red wines at Penny’s Hill are natured in the finest French oak barrels before blending. The presence of optimum quality vineyards in the nearby Adelaide Hills allows the creation of fresh, vibrant, balanced white wines of aromatic intensity and regional expression.

Sustainable Winegrowing

A proud member of Sustainable Winegrowing Australia, the Penny’s Hill winery contributes to the sustainability program which minimizes environmental impacts and encourages best viticulture practices.

Remember, it all begins in the vineyard.

Now that you know how this winery is going above and beyond to make the experience count for you, here’s a recommended wine from them. Give it a shot.

About the Wine

This vibrant Merlot unfurls aromas of plum, dark cherry, black olive and tar, with nuances of chocolate.  A medium-bodied wine with zingy minerality, light acidity and silk tannins leads to a smooth finish.  This splendid red wine tastes great with food such as light meats, chicken or slightly spiced dark meats.

ABV:  14.5%

McLaren Vale, Australia

Article contributed by guest writer, Hugo Brown

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Winery Spotlight: Mollydooker


Mollydooker Wines:  Aussie for Left Hander

If you were to write a story that had its ups and downs, trials and tribulations and eventually an overwhelming and sustainable success, you would be reading about Mollydooker.  In just over fifteen years under this label, Sarah Marquis, now sole owner and chief winemaker, has taken this brand from near bankruptcy to  a wildly successful and philanthropic company.  

We were first introduced to Mollydooker wines back in early 2011 when we, as fledgling wine writers, were reaching out to Australian brands, trying to expand our global wine knowledge base.  Their US contact shipped us a few bottles and we were immediately hooked!   How could such young wines be so flavorful and instantly drinkable?  What about aging for years and year?  What is this witchcraft that they are performing in Australia?  We were baffled and excited at the same time.

Sarah Marquis - Owner and Chief Winemaker at Mollydooker
Sarah Marquis - Owner and Chief Winemaker at Mollydooker

In the fall of 2011, we had the opportunity to attend a Mollydooker wine dinner at an obscure, out-of-the-way restaurant in northern Indiana.  Despite the 2.5 hour drive and getting lost along the way, we were over-the-moon for the opportunity to meet some of the MD team, learn more about their history and try some wine blending ourselves, all paired with delicious food.  It was at this dinner where we really began to appreciate the hard work, struggles and determination behind the logo.  If you ever have the opportunity to attend one of these events, don't think twice about it.!  It's an amazing experience.

Mollydooker Wine Dinner
Wine upon wine upon wine at the Mollydooker dinner

Part of the early success of Mollydooker was their uniquely developed and implemented Marquis Vineyard Watering Programme, which helped produced exceptionally flavorful grapes that would be used in the wines.  Sarah herself created many of the early wine labels which included a tab that could be pulled off so you could take it to your local wine purveyor to request it or remember what you drank.

Early labels allowed you to peel a section off and take to your wine store

Mollydooker Wine Labels
All of the Mollydooker wine labels are fun, festive and colorful

But not everything is an overnight success.  The Marquis family found themselves in a situation that would make or break them - literally.  They had just $17 left in the bank and no solid plan for the future.  It was then that what could be dubbed as a series of divine intervention happened - a loan from a businessman, growers offering extended terms, temporary salary reductions and the determination to succeed.   But it was June of 2006 that changed the world for Mollydooker.  Robert Parker reviewed the first Mollydooker vintage and he brutally honest - and impressed!   Because of Parker's notoriety and thoughts on the wines, the wine world agreed and went into a frenzy.  The first Mollydooker vintage was sold out in just 19 days.  Sarah and company were back to business, paying bills early and looking toward the future.

Of course, like any successful business, there are hiccups along the way.   In 2011, a forklift crash destroyed over 460 cases of Mollydooker's flagship Shiraz, Velvet Glove, leaving only a literal handful of bottles available for the US wine market.   At the time, Velvet Glove sold for $185 per bottle, making this a $1,000,000+ loss for the Australian winery.  But again, the team pulled up their boot straps, got back to work and overcame this huge loss.  

Mollydooker Velvet Glove Shiraz:  $1MM Loss
Wine, wine everywhere and not a drop to drink    Photo credit: The Times UK

Fast forward to 2017.   Sarah Marquis becomes the sole owner of Mollydooker Wines and also leads the way behind the scenes as head winemaker.  Her son Luke, aka Blue Eyed Boy, has begun participating in the family business, often in front of wine fans as a face for the company.  The wines continue to receive glowing accolades and have an ever-increasing global fan base.  But it has never been "just about wines" to Sarah.  She wholeheartedly believes in supporting organizations near and dear to her hear with the Mollydooker "Sip It Forward" program.  

In 2009, Mollydooker began a partnership with Transform Cambodia that allowed them to open three education centers for children.  300 children participate in this program which allows them not only the ability to learn English, but also provides them with a healthy and safe haven.

Transform Cambodia
Mollydooker supports Transform Cambodia

Mercy Multiplied was founded in 1983 and is dedicated to supporting women and girls in abuse situations with free and safe residential programs.  Mollydooker supports 20 women in this program annually.  

Closer to home, Mollydooker is a proud sponsor of Hutt Street Centre.  This organization supports the homeless and vulnerable people of Adelaide by providing shelter, food, warmth and safety.  

It is easy to see why we honored Sarah Marquis on International Women's Day in early March.  We are completely blown away by her tenacity, business sense, talent and philanthropic endeavors.  We hope, one day. to meet her at Mollydooker's Cellar Door in South Australia.  But until then, we will continue to be ambassadors of the brand through our posts and we will continue to be Mollydooker fans!

What does the future hold for Sarah Marquis and Mollydooker?  We can't wait to find out!

The MollyVan Wine Bar
Who wouldn't love to sip wine from the MollyVan wine bar?


Mollydooker Wine Accolades

  • Five 99-point Wine Advocate scores from Robert Parker
  • Winestate's Number 1 Australian & New Zealand Wine of the Year
  • Wine Spectator Top 10 Wines of the World - three times!
  • Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines of the World - eight times!
  • Business SA Regional Exporter of the Year 2017
  • Business SA Beer Wine and Spirits Exporter of the Year 2019
  • Australian Women in Wine Owner/Operator of the Year Award 2018
  • Telstra South Australian Business of the Year 2019

Monday, July 26, 2021

2019 Mollydooker Two Left Feet


2019 Mollydooker Two Left Feet

We were recently in Chicago visiting family and, of course, we had to check out the local wine store.  It's always fun shopping for wines and bourbons in a "new" city.  You never know what you may find.  Since it can be tough to find Mollydooker close to us (it is hit-and-miss) we decided to grab this bottle.  We have long been Mollydooker fans but had yet to write about any of the 2019 vintages.

The 2019 Mollydooker Two Left Feet is a fun way to step outside of MD's famous 100% Shiraz offerings.  This is a blend of Shiraz (69%), Merlot (16% and Cabernet Sauvignon (15%).  Dark magenta in the glass with wonderful, long legs, the wine permeates the air beautifully with fresh raspberry, cherry and spices.  At 16% ABV this wine isn't for the faint of heart.  But it isn't fumy or bear any unpleasant hints of menthol that you can get from other high octane wines.  In the mouth is a effortless and polished feel of a wine that boasts hearty red fruits, aged peppered steak, vanilla and grilling spices.  If you like blended wines that are very flavorful and cost-friendly, you can't go wrong with Two Left Feet!

2019 Mollydooker Two Left Feet close up

ABV:  16.0%

McLaren Vale, South Australia

Suggested retail price:  $30.00

Drink The Bottles score:  91/100

Friday, June 12, 2020

2017 MollyDooker The Boxer Shiraz

It has been waaaaaaaaay too long since I have 1) posted (more about that below) and 2) enjoyed any MollyDooker wines.   I found a local wine store who carries MD, so I'm a happy guy now!  The 2017 Boxer is just as lovely as previous years and I get completely lost in a bottle of my favorite Australian producer very easily.  Yes, I did do the Mollydooker Shake on this bottle.....make that these bottles as we drank them both in an evening.  The richness of plum, chewy chocolate and cherry pie filling completely filled the mouth and created a find coating and incredible finish.  I find around my hometown many folks are not familiar with MollyDooker, and I'm going to make it my mission to educate them on these delicious wines!

Part two?  Where have I been?  I've been here tasting wines and posting mainly on Instagram.  I have had one heck of a time accessing both my blog and email associated with the blog.  I had accidentally stopped my email subscription some months ago and it is nearly impossible to get things up and running again.  BUT, with the help of a very nice gentleman today (after multiple request tickets, phone calls and chats to Google), I again have full access to my blog and email!  You will be seeing more of me now!.

ABV:  16.0%

McLaren Vale, South Australia

Suggested retail price:  $30.00

Drink The Bottles score:  90/100

Friday, September 28, 2018

2013 d'Arenberg The Custodian Grenache

2013 d'Arenberg The Custodian Grenache

Going back a bit on this one (the 2015 is currently available) with the 2013 d'Arenberg Grenache wine - The Custodian.  For between $15 - $20 you can get a ton of enjoyment with this solid wine that boasts aromas of black raspberry, plum, pepper and licorice.   It's a straight forward crowd pleaser that would really be an exception add-on to your thick, medium rare steak.  The finish is quick but memorable on this one and it would be hard for anyone to think otherwise.  I really enjoy d'Arenberg wines and this one should be on your radar.

2013 d'Arenberg The Custodian Grenache label

ABV:  14.3%

McLaren Vale, South Australia

Suggested retail price:  $20.00

Drink The Bottles score:  90/100

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

2014 d'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz

2014 d'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz

I first tasted d'Arenberg wines about ten years ago and fell in love instantly.  Fast forward a decade, they have an incredible offering of wines and price points for just about every taste bud and pocket book.  The Dead Arm Shiraz is wildly popular and this 100% varietal is leaping out of the glass with spices, black fruit, coffee bean and damp earth.  This is one of those wines that get better with each sip (if that's possible) and you can't help but to be mesmerized by the deep purple color, so much that you find yourself helplessly swirling this wine throughout the drinking experience.  It's enchanting!  Ripe, dark berries with hints of farm pasture are on the flavor wheel with this one and there is a definitive, long and welcoming spicy and slightly woody finish that begs for more.  There is absolutely no doubt that this wine is going to evolve into a beautiful butterfly and despite the wonderful flavors you experience now, it will be more incredible in 10+ years.   By then, it could be considered "the" perfect wine!

2014 d'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz label

ABV:  14.4%

McLaren Vale, South Australia

Suggested retail price:  $70.00

Drink The Bottles score:  95/100

Saturday, May 12, 2018

2016 Mollydooker Carnival of Love Shiraz

2016 Mollydooker Carnival of Love Shiraz

I fell head over heels for Mollydooker wines about seven years ago.  It was an accidental tasting on my previous wine blog, Midwest Wine Guy, that allowed me to taste a bottle from everything they produced, and I was like a kid in a candy store.  Fast forward to the 2016 Carnival of Love and once again, I am completely enamored by the quality, value and overall loveliness of Mollydooker wines.  Gorgeous dark purple colors with plum, vanilla, country gravel road and raspberries that you just picked and squished in your hands are the wonderful, wafting aromas that leap out of the glass.  The balance on this wine is incredible and despite a 16% alcohol content, this wine does not come across as hot or with any type of medicinal feel.  This is truly skilled wine making at its best.  The mouthfeel is full, warm and inviting.  Flavors of raspberry cream, vanilla custard, earthly herbs and grilling spices blend beautifully and leave you wanting more....and more!  You cannot and will not go wrong with this Shiraz.   And yes, I did the Mollydooker shake!

2016 Mollydooker Carnival of Love Shiraz Label

ABV:  16.0%

McLaren Vale, Australia

Suggested retail price:  $75.00

Drink The Bottles score:  94/100

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