This is my third review of Robert Oatley Wines, rounding out the full product line. My favorite is the Shiraz from the first tasting followed by the Rosé of Sangiovese from the second, but these are both solid performers. In an age of bombastic wines from the land down under, it's nice to see a full slate of wines that don't get above 13.5% alcohol. It's a relief and reminds us why we fell in love with Australian wines in the first place.
Just to make things fun, the following reviews are presented in haiku form.
2008 Pinot Grigio
$20, 13.5% abv
Currency Creek, South Australia
Bright flavors of spring garden
Bubbles cling to glass
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot
$20, 13% abv
51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 49% Merlot
Mudgee*, New South Wales
Black cherry, pepper
Color of plum leaves in fall
With long smooth finish
Pinot Grigio is a pretty lightweight grape, and while I prefer my white wines with a little more force, this is one of the better expressions of the grape that I've tried. With the light flavors and splash of lemony acidity, a refreshing and healthy dinner was in order. Salmon, rice blend with chopped kale, and a Campari tomato that had completed its role as a prop for the top photo. This would be an excellent match for any light seafood lunch. (This bottle makes a cameo appearance in my ChillinJoy review.)
The Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot was sampled a few days later, when heartier fare was necessary. A thick ribeye, split between two diners, a little cold potato salad, and fresh roasted red corn. If you see red corn at the store, give it a try. It's got a deeper and fuller flavor than the yellow or white varieties. During these hot summer months, it's a good idea to put a little chill on your red wine to get it down around 65ºF. This blend was made for red meat, and I'd love to try it again with some thick lamb chops.
*From a press release, I finally found out what the curious name Mudgee means. It comes from the Aboriginal word "Moothi", meaning "the nest in the hills". I grew up surrounded by Cherokee and Chickasaw place names like Tchulahoma, Nonconnah, Neshoba, and Loosahatchie.