Every bottle has a story

I am not a wine expert, but with each bottle I try and share with friends, I learn more. Wine is an exceptional social drink; it is the marijuana of alcoholic beverages because it must be shared. I seek to share with you my thoughts and experiences as I drink the wine in my closet, as well as my enthusiasm for the finds that come my way and the excellent values that I find. I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences too, so please share!

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I’m not one to buy wine based on the label alone, but recently I purchased an Australian red called Skulls. Besides the interesting name, the bottle label was very intriguing. It’s an ink drawing of someone ensnared by some vines between two trees, but when you look again, you see a large skull. At $17 and with a Parker rating of 91, I thought what the heck. I bought two.

It was a few weeks before I tasted it. The 2007 Skulls is from R Wines of Southeast Australia. It’s a blend of 60 percent Grenache and 40 percent Mataro, a grape I hadn’t heard of. However, I learned it’s another name for Mourvèdre. Mataro is a city on the Spanish coast in the region of Catalonia northeast of Barcelona. I didn’t know this about the wine at the time, but in the past I have enjoyed Spanish Grenache blends. They have a richness of fruit that isn’t too jammy sustained with firm tannins. Like a good Tempranillo, they get better the longer they are left open, particularly the blends from Jumilla. I have had some wines from this region that I opened the day before I want to drink them they are sometimes wound that tight.

I also learned that this wine has some cellar potential, with Parker suggesting it will be good through 2015. That, to me, is an outstanding find for $17. And the tasting proved it.

I served it with a pork tenderloin very simply oven roasted with some squash and asparagus. It showed an interesting nose that combined forest scents with cherry, and the taste was laced with a delicious hint of cinnamon that gave the cherry a bracing zing on the palette. There is a mushroom quality as well that matches the forest scents. It looks quite delicate, having a transparent garnet color much like a Burgundy or delicate Pinot from Oregon. The tannins disappear as well, leaving a delicate and delightful wine that went exceptionally well with the pork. We’ll see how the next one tastes after I’ve left it in my closet for a while.

I rate this with a 9 according to my scale at the left.

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