This week’s post on The Grape Vine is dedicated to a wine tasted on a recent trip to McLaren Vale, in Australia. The wine in question, is the Dead Winemaker’s society by Alpha Box and Dice.
For regular readers, the name Alpha Box and Dice might sound familiar because of their other wine- Golden Mullet Fury (an orange wine), which was featured in my list of top 10 wines from Australia.
Although the Dead Winemaker’s Society didn’t make it to the top 10, it is certainly a wine worth writing about- and exploring if you are lucky enough to live somewhere where it’s available.
So named as a tribute to winemakers of past, this wine is particularly dedicated to Bartolo Mascarello- the legend and cult figure in the wine world who was known for producing traditional Barolo wines. Some called Bartolo Mascarello as “the last of the Mohicans”, because he (along with Teobaldo Cappellano and Giuseppe Rinaldi) stood his ground and refused to let traditions die in the face of modern pressures, and he was at the time heavily criticized for his stand, but time- and his wines have vindicated his stance.
Another interesting fact about Mascarello is his famous quote "No Barrique, No Berlusconi". The story behind this quote is that during the later years of his life, Mascarello was not in good health and thus couldn't move around as much as previously. To pass the time, he begun hand painting his wine labels, the most famous of which carried this quote - “No Barrique, No Berlusconi”. Barrique, and Berlusconi were in his view the two major evils that plagued Barolo wines. Of course, this was a political statement, and didn't go down well with the authorities, but today those bottles are considered collectors items.
Coming back to the Dead Winemaker's Society, the wine itself is a Dolcetto based wine that’s surprisingly very easy drinking. Dolcetto itself is a grape with Italian origins (Monferrato hills of Northern Italy).
The Dead Winemaker's Society is on the slightly lighter side of a medium bodied wine- but definitely has more body than a Pinot Noir. Of all the wines tasted, this wine stood out as …..something different. And that’s why it caught my attention.
So what does it taste like? Well, since this was my first Dolcetto based wine, it was unlike anything I had ever tasted before- but pleasantly so.
On the nose, this wine was a bit shy at first, but it opened up with each sip, displaying aromas of ripe black fruit such as black cherries. On the second nose, the sage and other dried herbs made their presence felt.
On the palate, the attack is soft, gentle, with a definite savory element plus the dried herbs. The mid palate sees the savory flavor carrying through, with some just ripe blackberry and black currant being there. Here, the tannins make their presence felt for the first time, and they are very clean, soft, almost silky. The end palate lasts around 6-7 minutes.
Food pairing: Magret of duck.
To conclude, this wine is definitely worth a try, and should be part of your cellar. It is ready to drink now, but if you want to keep it in your cellar for later, it should age 5 years easily.
Thank you for reading this post. I look forward to reading your comments and feedback.