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    Uncommonly Good Shiraz from Down Under, and Two Hands

    Two Hands LogoIt wasn’t all that long ago that Australian wine flooded the world’s markets, bringing millions of liters of reasonably priced, everyday wine onto store shelves. These were drinkable, but not memorable. The overall effect was to create an almost worldwide impression that Australian wines were just that, drinkable but not memorable. The notion of truly world class wine and Australia did not go together. Many had either a cute critter or phrase on the label, be under $10 for a regular bottle, and be available in magnums as well. The reds could be a bit sweet. The whites were too.

    This did a total disservice to the Australian wine industry, which has been making world class wine all along. We have reviewed truly great wines, from Australian producers like Penfolds, Chateau Tanunda and Hickinbotham, among others. Penfold’s Grange is recognized worldwide as an iconic brand. This is serious wine country.

    Changing that singular impression of Australia as a place of only reasonably good, inexpensive and abundant wine, is one of the driving forces behind the Two Two Hands VineyardHands winery. Started in 1999 as an idea between founders Michael Twelftree and Richard Mintz, the idea was to make wines which told a story of place, and terroir, and the diversity that was in the Australian wine lands, or that there was more here than the mass produced juice flooding the markets. They set out to show there were many world class wines to be made here, not just some generic Shiraz. Their first vintage was in 2000, and some early success led to the expansion of the range. They launched their Garden Series in 2003, which explores regionality and its effect on the expression of Shiraz. Here, they take Shiraz from six different, premium regions and make six wines with identical technique, allowing the terroir to provide the differences and unique characteristics. They have several other ranges now as well, including super premium Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and a Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend done in the style of a white Bordeaux.

    This is a good story, a great range of wines, and there is much more to read on their website at:?https://www.twohandswines.com/.

    We have two wines from Two Hands for review, and these are from what would be considered their introductory range, or the Picture Series. These are both Shiraz, and are really second wines of their famous cousins, Bella’s Garden and Lily’s Garden. The barrels that did not qualify to go into the Garden Series wines make up these two. Here are our notes and impressions:

    2018 Gnarly Dudes Shiraz – made from barrels that did not make the cut for the Bella’s Garden Shiraz, this is made in small gnarly dudesbatches. It is 100% Shiraz from the Barossa Valley. The wine was aged in French oak for 12 months, 13% of which was new. The remaining barrels range from 1-6 years in age, bringing a wide spectrum of oak effect into the wine. Our thoughts:

    The wine is dark, purple red. On the nose you get dark fruit, as well as some blue. There is a strong savory quality. Grilled toast and a balsamic herb note round out a very complex profile. On the palate this is full bodied, with brisk tannins and good balance. What is striking is the purity of the fruit. Some menthol makes an appearance. It is long, rich and luxurious. This is pretty excellent, has an SRP of $33, and tastes like anything but a second wine. It leaves you wondering how good the Garden Series wine is, and then there is the super premium Ares Shiraz. Where does this rabbit hole go?? We don’t know yet, but it will be fun to find out.

    2018 Angel’s Share Shiraz – this is made from barrel’s that did not make it into the Lily’s Garden Shiraz. It is also 100% Shiraz, but this time from McLaren Vale. The same small batch handling applies to all these wines. The juice was in oak for 14 months, IMG_0178including 12% new American and the rest ranging from 1-8 year old American and French wood. What did we think?

    This is dark purple juice. On the nose there was blueberry compote…..over grilled steak. This has more spice on the palate, especially at the end. Long legs on the glass. It is just full bodied, and very long. The tannins linger the whole way, providing substance and structure. Good acid provides beautiful balance. The wine finished beautifully with chocolate covered fruit. Very excellent, also an SRP of $33, and something I would be very happy drinking anytime, anywhere. These are seriously good wines.

    Again, these two wines represent an entry into the world of Two Hands. You can reach much higher, expand to other varietals, and take a trip into what Australian wine has to offer. It is much more than a cute animal or a catchy phrase. It’s all about what’s inside the bottle.

    A votre santé!

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