This is an odd little wine. Here in California, Australia is basically synonymous with Syrah, and while a good chunk of cab is available, that’s about it. OCCASIONALLY a chard, and if you’re REALLY lucky, maybe a rare Riesling. But that’s it. So this bottle is a bit of an odd surprise–and when you see the blend, it gets weirder. Also–from my observance of SM–it appears the *natural wine* movement has hit over there pretty hard–several years later than state-side–along with its fervent fans and eye-rolling critics. The name of this blend also befuddles me, but I’m SURE the minds behind–and the marketers–have a great story, and there’s a huge paragraph on the back which I’m not bored enough to read.
Dark purple in the glass–nearly impenetrable save the sliver of clear rim. Clean, steely, stone-edged rigidity braces the deep black berry, a bit of old-world funk gracing the otherwise simple, cheery fruit. Tasting it, I would LOVE to say I would have nailed the main component blind, for when you turn the label around, you’re instantly like, BAM! that’s it! But I don’t have that much confidence in my skills. Plus: knowing it Australian, Lagrein would probably be the LAST thing on my mind. It’s literally an Italian wine, something I also assumed when I saw it on the shelf, before seeing “Australia”. An odd blend, but it works, and my mind jumps to Cotes du Rhone or Cote Rotie for comparisons.
Mired in darkness while surprisingly fresh and light-spirited, a user-friendly fruit-forwardness deepens the second day to considerable black cherry solemnity. It’s a mouthful, but carries it all out with cheerful aplomb. It causes me to wonder if there are any blends of this nature in Italy–a query which will no doubt be answered repeatedly and in depth by readers smarter than I as soon as I hit *enter*. Fun wine, fun label, fun blend, GREAT price: I could glass this All. Day. Long.
2018 RICCA TERRA VINTNERS ‘Bullets Before Cannonballs’ Lagrein/Nero d’Avola/Montepulciano/Temp 35/30/28/7 Riverland SA 14.5