Friday, November 24, 2006

Two Hands - For Love or Money Cane Cut Semillon

Two Hands winery is fast becoming an iconic name from Australia. Apparently they are fairing quite well with a particular American wine critic earning Parker points in the high nineties. I nearly met winemaker Matt Wenks a few years ago when he came to Gleneagles to do a tasting with my colleagues, but for some reason I was off that day. I remember tasting the wines the next day and being blown away by the intensity of the shiraz - especially the Lily's Garden Shiraz from McLaren and the Bad Impersonator from Barossa. Ive since come across them several other times at various tastings and toyed with the idea of adding them to my list, but Ive never really had the gap for the Shiraz, or truth be told the sales of shiraz to justify them. But that hasnt stopped me from adding a couple of their other wines, notably the Brilliant Disguise Moscato also from Barossa. A light, crisp fruity moscato with a touch of petillance that works really well with light fruity desserts like the caramelised pineapple with white chocolate and pink peppercorns.Just recently I went out on a limb and slurged for some For Love or Money which is a cane cut semillon from the Barossa. The principle behind the wine is that the vines canes are cut some weeks before the harvest. What this does is effectively cut the water supply to the fruit so the berries start to shrivel. So come the harvest what you are picking is dehydrated grapes, almost raisins, which produce a very sweet, syrup like juice when crushed. This must can take nearly a year to ferment out to about 10% abv leaving loads of residual sugar. The method seems to be uniquely Australian, Mount Horrocks produce a cane cut riesling, but I havent seen it done anywhere else.The colour is a vibrant golden yellow, with an amazingly prominant nose. The aromas drift out of the glass and assualt your nasal passages with tons of honeyed fruit aromas. Charantais melon, passionfruit, bananas, peaches with honeysuckle aromas all mingled together. Im not the biggest fan of dessert wines, but the aromas of this were absolutely gorgeous. And the flavour more than lived up to the promise of the nose. The tropical fruit flavours all came together on the palate wrapped up in an unctously sweet package that had so much balance and just the perfect levels of acidity that you could forget that this was a dessert wine. It was almost a shame to spoil the wine by eating pud with it! I want some!! Alas the UK allocation of this ambrosia is a measly 120 bottles. Ten cases of 12 halves. 60 litres. A true pittance. And Ive already sold three bottles of my single solitary case. Aaargggghhhhhh!!!!!!!! Im going to have to wait for next year to get some more. Needless to say with so little coming into the UK it doesnt come cheap. £75 for a half bottle on a restaurant wine list. This puts it into the same league as the Canadian icewines, and slightly more expensive than the Raymond Lafon Sauternes. Is it worth it? Hell yes!

1 comment:

The Grim Optimist said...

I've recently come across a Cut Cane Pinot Gris. From Hawkes Bay in New Zealand. Also a dessert wine and truly brilliant. Think there might be some Botrytis used. Cottage Block the name of the winery. Got winemaker of the year in '08 as well but that was for a Chardonnay. That being said, the pinot gris is probably my favourite from the selection. Being a Pinot Gris it's also not exactly the sweetest as far as dessert wines go. Had a bit of confusion as far as the way in which 'cut cane' was prepared. Thanks for clearing that up for me.