Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Two Hands - Bella's Garden

The weather is cold and it is time for a big Shiraz. Two Hands has been a favourite with the US market and certainly produces big wine, but it has, in my opinion, avoided the alcohol excesses of some other producers. I am opening a 2002 Two Hands Bella's Garden Shiraz to see how well this well endowed wine is aging.

Apart from being a US favourite, there is a second reason why the Australian establishment is critical: Two Hands is a virtual winery; it does not own vineyards nor winery. This is regarded as a bad thing. The company states it comes from the customer end: not production driven, but giving the consumer what it wants. I can't see anything too bad in that. In fact, many production orientated wineries may please winemakers, but neither customers nor their CFO.

Now to the wine: it has a good core of blackcurrant and mulberry fruit, but the tannins are harsh and not well integrated. You couldn't say this wine is over the hill because of overripe grapes, but fruit and tannins seem to fight rather than work in synch. I tasted this wine after release, and it was seductive and lush. Now the finish is somewhat unpleasant. It is not a bad wine, but certainly not a great example of aging Barossa Shiraz: another case of possibly good material, but only average wine making (see some previous posts).

I find some big Shirazes attractive and am not against this style out of principle. But only very few people seem to get this right. Torbreck and Kalleske are a couple of frontrunners, they will be tested with older wines shortly.

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