Horizontal Tasting of South Australia Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon Blends - Mollydooker "The Enchanted Path", GoDolphin, Branson Coach House and '9'
The gala family celebration of life continued with a tasting of a series of Shiraz based wines from South Australia.
Mollydooker "The Enchanted Path" Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz McLaren Vale 2005I write about Mollydooker in my blogpost on their premium Shiraz Carnival of Love. As I've written before in these pages, Mollydooker is the handiwork of the then husband-and-wife winemaking team of Sarah and Sparky Marquis.
Sarah and Sparky Marquis met as students studying winemaking at
Roseworthy College. They shared a vision and passion to craft wines people would love. Academically, Sparky was accomplished, winning
awards, prizes and trophies including Dux of the College and the
prophetic award for the ‘Student most likely to contribute to the
Australian Wine Industry’.
In 1994, they debuted as a winemaking team at Fox Creek Wines in McLaren Vale (owned by Sarah’s parents). Their success was immediate, taking out the title of "Bushing King and Queen" for their McLaren Vale Shiraz, a feat they repeated in 1998 and again in 2000. The pair was selected as ‘Winemakers of the Year’ for the wines they produced under the Henry’s Drive and Parson’s Flat labels. They went on to also produce wines for Fox Creek and Shirvington. Robert Parker and Wine Spectator both lavished high praise and highest marks on their handicraft.
In their first move to starting their own label, the pair produced under the Marquis Philips brand in a partnership with their American distributor Dan Philips. Sarah and Sparky did not own their own vineyards but sourced fruit from selected growers in McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek and Padthaway.
Robert Parker wrote “Sarah
and Sparky who live by the motto ‘We make wines that make people go
'wow’ through attention to detail and commitment to excellence' have hit
pay dirt with their brilliantly packaged wines... with labels that
resemble vaudeville acts from the mid 30’s.”
In 2005, they set out on their own launching "Mollydooker", the Aussie slang term for a left-handed person as both Sarah and Sparky Marquis are left-handed.
2005, they've focused exclusively on making their own exuberant wines
include a range of Shiraz labels and a variety of Shiraz/Cab/Merlot
blends, as well as some adventuresome
white wines such as The Violinist, a Verdelho varietal. Their branding
features whimsical names and labels with cartoonish characters and
illustrations resembling carnival or circus posters in the premium
labels 'Carnival of Love' (right) and this 'Enchanted Path' (below).
They source their fruit from 116 acres of vineyards at their winery in McLaren Vale where about 50 percent are planted in Shiraz, with the rest made up of Cabernet, Merlot, Semillon and Chardonnay. Most of their wines bear distinctive whimsical and humorous names and labels with cartoon characters. Never-the-less, many of their wines, while modestly-priced, Mollydookers are often highly rated. Their premium label, 'Velvet Glove' Shiraz retails for $175, however.
As I wrote the other day in a these pages, Sparky and Sara split up a couple years ago and Sarah took over the business
while Sparky spent time traveling and contemplating his next chapter. Interestingly, Sparky is a racing car enthusiast buddy of my colleague who manages the
ANZ APAC region for me from down there in Adelaide. I'll hope to meet
him through our mutual acquaintance if and when I travel there on
business, or better, on a wine trip.
Mollydooker "The Enchanted Path" Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz McLaren Vale 2005
This is Syrah (2/3) based accented by Cabernet Sauvignon (1/3).
This unique blend really works with the Cabernet adding breadth and
depth to the big black inky purple colored full bodied Shiraz. The
result is a powerful full bodied complex wine with concentrated forward
chewy tongue coating black berry and black cherry fruits accented by
ripe plum and spice, a layer of vanilla and hints of mocha and anise with fine
silky tannins on the long finish.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate gave this wine a whopping 96 points and wrote in their review: "The 2005 Enchanted Path (66% Shiraz and 34% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in primarily American oak, 60% new) is fashioned from relatively young vines. It reveals an amazing opaque purple/blue/black color (always a hallmark of Marquis wines), a full-bodied, powerful, smoky nose, extravagant layers of fruit, spice, glycerin, and extract, full body, superb intensity, tremendous richness, and a seamless personality. It is a textbook example of a southern Australian red at its richest, fullest, and most pure. For consumers with open minds and progressive palates, this amazing red should age beautifully for 10-15 years. Drink through 2021+
Opaque black inky garnet colored, full bodied, rich, thick concentrated yet balanced harmonious black berry fruits exude aromatics that leap out of the glass with notes of plum, vanilla and black pepper, followed by notes of mocha and licorice flavors of vanilla and dark chocolate are accented with spice and black pepper. Velvet smooth tannins are accented by long pronounced notes of vanilla and spice.
RM 94 points.
For a comparison tasting, we opened another South Australia Cabernet-Shiraz Blend from the same 2005 vintage.
Ben Glaetzer Godolphin South Australia Barossa Valley Cabernet-Shiraz Red Blend 200594 points Wine Enthusiast, 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate and Vinou.s
This is another blend of Shiraz, 80%, from 85-year-old vines, and Cabernet Sauvignon, 20%, from 60-year-old vines, aged in 100% new oak.
Deep inky black dark garnet-purple colored, medium-full bodied, complex, intense, concentrated black berry black raspberry and blueberry fruits with notes of graphite, cassis, pain grille, vanilla and spice turning to a long lush smooth tannin laced nicely balanced oak finish. This had a very similar profile as the Enchanted Path but lacked its harmonious balance, elegance and smooth mouthfeel.
RM 92 points.
I added to the mix, pulling from the cellar this Marquis Phillips '09' Shiraz from the same era 2007 vintage. I can't help but wonder if and have to presume this is the same Shiraz juice as in the Mollydooker, just without the blended Cabernet. This suspicion is strengthened by the fact this is the last vintage of this label in our cellar, of which we own every release of this wine since its inception.
Marquis Phillips '09' McLaren Vale Shiraz 2007
Like the other Marquis Philips/Mollydooker branding, this features a whimsical cartoon characterization, this time of a 'roogle',
which is 1/2 eagle, and 1/2 kangaroo, representing the American
Australian partnership of Marquis and US distributor and partner Dan
Phillips. As noted above, this partnership disbanded and the Mollydooker
brand was born, launched in 2005.
Consistent with earlier review notes, "this 2007 vintage '9' is dark, big, full bodied and concentrated. It is not as complex or polished as some of the other vintage releases. In addition to the black berry fruits accented by mocha, tobacco and leather, there is a layer of graphite in this that has an edge that tends to detract from the fruit."
Lacking the blend of the Bordeaux varietal (s) would explain this wine being more single-dimensional and less complex, yet no less bodied or concentrated.
RM 89 points.
To extend the horizontal tasting we opened another 2004 South Australian Shiraz.
This property was taken over by Two Hands after the passing of proprietor Malcolm Asden, the result being these wines are now made alongside Two Hands by their winemaker Matt Wenk. The acquisition was made possible by capital from outside foreign investors.
They continue to produce BCH premium single vineyard designated labels Coach House Block Rare Single Vineyard and Greenock Block Single Vineyard Shiraz's sourced from the vineyards that surround the winery.
At sixteen years of age, this is aging gracefully, but starting to show its age with slight signs of diminution of the fruits.
Upon opening it was slightly obtuse with a bit of an edge, but over the course of an hour it opened, softened and became more approachable.
Dark inky purple color, full bodied, thick, chewy layers of aromatic flavors of tangy black fruits, raspberry, black cherry and black currants, accented by tones of clove spice, graphite & hints of creme de cassis on a smooth polished moderate tannin finish.
RM 90 points, two points less than the last tastings back nearly four years ago on Aug 6, 2016 and then Oct 11, 2017.