I got a taste of a $1,400 bottle of wine this week. No, it wasn't a Montrachet, Pétrus or single-barrel trockenbeerenauslese. It was a fortified Muscat from Australia. Rutherglen Muscat comes from a far-off corner of the wine world—a hot region in Victoria, near the border of New South Wales.
When you name your new winery Mollydooker (Australian slang for left-hander), you don't expect to do things the usual way. Sparky and Sarah Marquis, both lefties, unabashedly aim for crowd-pleasingly plush textures and ripe flavors in their wines, bucking a national trend in Australia toward more refinement and delicacy.
For years, d'Arenberg has been one of my go-to wineries from Australia. Everything from the McLaren Vale winery seemed to show distinctive character and refinement. Having recently tasted some of the newest releases, I have been puzzled by an apparent change in direction in the top wines.
Two big food movies stand out amongst this summer's fare. Catherine Zeta-Jones stars as a driven chef in No Reservations , opening in July. It's an American remake of the German film "Mostly Martha," which starred the ravishing Martina Gedeck.
In my experience, Australian vintners are a candid bunch. They don't try to put a good face on things if they're going bad, and they don't shy away from saying something nice about competitors if they deserve it.
Suddenly, it seems, half is hip. More and more good restaurants are beefing up their selections of 375-milliliter bottles, and not just mass market wines but the kind of drink-me wines that those of us who look for something special will want to drink.
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