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JOHN ROZENTALS finds some seriously fine red wine beneath Two Hands’ somewhat trivial labelling.

November 28, 2018 Beverage, Headline News No Comments Email Email

I don’t normally trust what I regard as contrived packaging — things such as illustrations of people kissing or fancy names such as ‘Gnarly Dudes Shiraz’.

It normally covers up winemaking errors and I usually get the feeling that the wine is incapable of standing up for itself.

But I approached Two Hands’ Picture Series with greater confidence than usual — firstly because I knew that the grapegrowing/winemaking team was an impeccable one; secondly because I knew that the PR person involved, Pippa Merrett, came with exemplary credentials from Yalumba and wouldn’t get involved with anything that even hinted of being dodgy.

Two Hands was created very nearly 20 years ago, following a conversation — presumably well lubricated — between Michael Twelftree and Richard Mintz at a friend’s engagement party.

They knew that they had access to some of the best shiraz in the Barossa Valley — ie, in Australia — and they wanted to show the world just how good these wines could be.

International success of the wines was almost immediate, due no doubt in large measure to Michael Twelftree’s passion for his craft: “I have walked every vineyard, made every picking decision and tasted every individual barrel of each wine we’ve ever produced.”

In 2003 Two Hands found a permanent home, when Michael spotted a run-down, uninhabited cottage in the Barossa’s Western Ranges.

Kraehe House became the operation’s cellar door, and was followed a year later by a state-of-the-art small-batch winery.

These days, the sources of fruit have expanded beyond shiraz and beyond the Barossa, and the partnership is between Michael Twelftree and Colorado native Tim Hower, who bought his own love of wine and the Barossa to the business.

And yes, there’s still plenty of evidence that the passion for great wine still burns, despite the apparent marketing frivolity.

WINE REVIEWS

Two Hands 2017 Angel’s Share McLaren Vale Shiraz ($27): The spiciness of the wine is obvious, but I’m not sure about pinning it down as tightly as the winemaker’s notes when they say it has ‘an intriguing overlay of Moroccan spice temple’. Anyway, it’s a lovely red with loads of berry flavours and mouth-drying chalky tannins. Like all the wines tasted here, it’s one with a long and bright future.

Two Hands 2017 Sexy Beast McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon ($27): The tannins are brisk, as they should be with a young cabernet, and there’s certainly evidence of the variety’s hallmark tobacco-leaf and herbaceous flavours. But predominantly, it’s about red currants, overlaid by a pleasantly balanced dose of new French oak.

WINE OF THE WEEK

Two Hands 2017 Gnarly Dudes Barossa Valley Shiraz ($27): Restrained winemaking has limited this red to medium-to-full-bodied rather than showing off the full-bodied power the district is quite capable of. The tannins are obviously there but are perfectly matched by outstanding flavour highlighted by dark fruits such as black cherries and blackberries. The taste of dark chocolate also plays a prominent role.

Written by John Rozentals

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