2007 d'Arenberg The Cenosilicaphobic Cat Sagrantino Cinsault

If there was ever to be a quirky blend, it would come from d'Arenberg and one Chester Osborn. This union of Sagrantino - an indigenous red variety from Umbria - and Cinsault - a red variety whose stronghold is Languedoc - brings some serious funk to the table. The winery's first attempt at Sagrantino blended with Cinsault vines dating back to 1958.

The name refers to the fear of an empty glass, a misfortune that may have affected us all at times. In truth, it is a label dedicated to a particular winery cat who had a penchant for the red juice. Once its predilection was discovered, it was back to more conventional forms of thirst quenching
 for the frustrated moggie. 

Dark purple with rose hues visually. Sweet bark and smokey aromas with earthy black fruit flavours of the Sagrantino. 
Fragrant violets and herbal tea aromas add plenty of allure and interest.

Dry herbs and black currant fruit attack the palate on entry. Bright acid keeps things tight across the mid-palate. Integrated oak from eighteen months in new and old barriques, dark chocolate-coated cherries and dusty mineral tones. A long smooth savoury finish bolstered by grippy, chalky tannins. Think Shiraz Viognier as a comparison but out there.

This is not a big ballsy wine but a mid-weight that has held its own well over the journey. Sagrantino-dominant rustic flavours with some Cinsault perfume. One of a kind from one of a kind.

A 2009 vintage is now available for purchase from the d'Arenberg website.

Source: Retail Purchase. Alcohol: 14.5%. Closure: Screwcap. Price: $25.00. Rating: 89 Points.

2010 Heartland Wines Dolcetto & Lagrein

Another innovative blend of two northern Italian varieties from South Australia's Langhorne Creek. This marriage of 50% Dolcetto and 50% Lagrein - a variety indigenous to Trentino Alto Aldige - is the brainchild of owner and winemaker Ben Glaetzer at Heartland Wines.

Has there been a blend like this before ? A handful of winemakers here are blending Dolcetto and Shiraz/Syrah but this is unique, funky and nerdy ! The Lagrein is aged in new French oak for nine months while the Dolcetto is un-oaked to preserve freshness.

Dark purple glass staining colour. Savoury bouquet of cherry, black pepper and almonds. A dry, flinty, earthy red aromatically ringed by the dark plum and blackberry flavours of the Dolcetto. 

In the mouth, dark fruit flavours on entry. Licorice, dark chocolate and blackberry palate with meaty savouriness. Texturally smooth. Astringent sour cherry notes and earthy tannins across the palate. Bright acidity throughout, especially towards the tail. Oak is present but doesn't monster the wine's balance. 
Again, old world varieties with a new world twist. My note ends  'a marriage made in heaven'. 

Vibrant, complex and alluring wine that wants to be drunk with hearty food. 

Source: Retail Purchase. ABV: 14.0%. Closure: Screwcap. Price: $21.50. Rating: 92 Points.