Thursday, June 23, 2011

Uncle Dick and The Ball Buster

Now that the rain has chased me off of the new patio at The Happy Grape I'm inside, drinking my wine and reliving fond memories of one of my favorite uncles. Running in from the rain reminds me of my uncle Don and his famous water balloon attacks that left me looking more like an orphaned cat in the rain than like the boy that had the charmed life my family provided but what can this have to do with wine?

Most of what I love of wine comes from the memories that it seems to stir up. Of all the sensory triggers, smell seems to be the strongest. Each sense, including sound, smell and vision, has a primary and a secondary sensory cortex area in the brain. The primary cortex sends sensory information to the secondary cortex, which then connects to emotional and memory areas of the brain [Science News]. So it comes as no surprise to me that after running in from the rain I sit with fond memories of the times spent with my uncle having water balloon fights on a hot summer afternoon. The combination of the smell of rain and the scent of plums coming from my shiraz take me back to those days sitting on my uncles porch drying off after the fight and having fresh fruit.

All this brings me full circle to my current life, running a wine bar and having just found Bleasdale Vineyards Red Brute Sparkling Shiraz. In addition to the awesome picture of Uncle Dick on the label. It has the distinction of being one of the few moderately priced non – vintage sparkling shiraz on the market.

This Shiraz has a deep ruby color with smokey blackberry and blueberry aromas and soft flesh dark berry flavors topped off with subtle spicy notes and a lingering finish. It is the perfect wine to have with cheesecake at the end of a meal or as an aperitif.

Also new to “The Grape” this week is Tait “The Ball Buster”. A blend of Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, The Ball Buster has a whopping 15.5% Alcohol. The grapes that make up the Ball Buster come from different vineyard locations throughout Barossa that do not exceed cropping levels beyond 3.5 tons an acre with typically clay soils. The wine has intense aromas of black current, stewed plums, cherry and chocolate. The pallet is full bodied with plenty of berry flavor and a sweet long finish. The grainy tannins in this wine beg for meat or strong cheese. Drink this wine with caution. The 15.5% alcohol can take over quickly making for a boisterous party.