I like to think I’m reasonably ahead of the curve on my areas of focus, but I have to admit I was surprised to receive an email about The Wine Society’s new Aussie label, Blind Spot.
Why? The range retails for under £9 and is made by Mac Forbes, one of Australia’s most go ahead winemakers. And when I say go ahead, I should be specific. Forbes has an unerring eye for great parcels of fruit with a sense of place. And he lets both do the talking with his uncluttered, hands off approach to winemaking.
My curiosity fired up, I shot off an email to The Wine Society’s Australia buyer Pierre Mansour to find out more about the project. This is what he told me. “This is the culmination of a long project I’ve been involved in for our Australian range. Basically, I felt that we were missing out on some decent “everyday” Oz wines: the geography makes it so tough for us to crack unless I lived out there! So, Mac’s brief is to intercept some great wines that may have been otherwise destined for the bulk market and just blended away to oblivion. As you know his connections are superb. We then taste together, make some tweaks to final blends & Mac oversees the bottling.”
The Blind Spot range currently comprises a Mornington Peninsula Chardonnay (£8.50), Gundagai Sangiovese 2010 (£8.25), Rutheglen Grenache Shiraz Mataro (£7.95) and Grampians Shiraz Cabernet (£7.95). Assuming members like it, it will be an ongoing feature of The Wine Society’s range, though the styles/grapes may change in line with whatever catches Forbe’s eye.
This member of The Wine Society liked the current range. These two really shone:
Blind Spot Sangiovese 2010 (Gundagai, NSW)
In case you’re wondering, Gundagai is an elevated region, located between 500-1000m above sea level in Southern New South Wales. Pale ruby with a garnet rim, this take on one of Italy’s best known grapes (think Chianti) is exactly as a should be. It has the variety’s typical bright red cherry fruit to nose and palate, with hints of leather, spice and refined ripe tea leaf tannins. Though it has lovely fruity acidity – well-integrated – it’s plumper than your average Italian expression, which makes an attractive proposition with or without food. 14% abv.
Blind Spot Shiraz Cabernet 2010 (Grampians, Victoria)
A great example of Shiraz Cabernet – as broad as it’s long – with a cool climate peppery twist. On the nose, the Shiraz comes to the fore, showing hints of smoky charcuterie/bacon fat and black pepper (very Grampians), which follow through in the mouth. The Shiraz fleshes out the juicy and generous red and black berry mid-palate, while the Cabernet lends line and length of black berry and currant. Great length and drive for this price. Very good indeed. 14%