16 February 2011

James Oatley Tic Tok Wines

Despite the popular jokes and misconceptions, not everyone who went to Australia in the 18th & 19th centuries was a criminal, and England certainly enforced the punishment of transportation by sending convicts to America before the Revolution. But this is the first time I've seen an Australian wine named after such a person. James Oatley was a British clockmaker who stole some bed linen and earned himself a one way ticket to the other side of the world.

His great-great-grandson is the famous winemaker Bob Oatley, whose wines have been reviewed here several times. Moving on down the family lineage, Bob's grandson shares the name James, and he designed the label for this product line. The three triangle motif comes directly from a pattern that was stenciled on to convict uniforms of the time.

What does the name remind me of? Three very different things: Harlan Ellison's classic short story "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman". There's also Tik-Tok, the clockwork soldier of Oz who was part of the main group in Disney's horrifying Return to Oz movie. But because I listened to a lot of pop radio in the early 90s, I can't see the words "tick tock" without thinking of Color Me Badd's "I Wanna Sex You Up". "To The Tick Tock Ya Don't Stop, To The Tick Top Ya Don't Stop". There, now it's stuck in your head as well! Bwa-ha-ha-ha!

All of the following wines are enclosed with convenient Stelvin screwcaps. Additional information can be found at the Robert Oatley website.

2008 James Oatley Tic Tok Chardonnay
Mudgee, New South Wales
$14, 12.8% abv.
Peach and vanilla, floral, tart, firm acidity with a smoother finish. Great with grilled fish.

2009 James Oatley Tic Tok Sauvignon Blanc (60%)/Semillon (40%)
Western Australia
$14, 12.5% abv.
Bright and citric, lots of grapefruit, honey, etc. The Sauvignon Blanc is really dominant here, but as it warms you can get more of the Semillon character. Good with roast chicken.

2009 James Oatley Tic Tok Pinot Grigio
South Eastern Australia
$14, 13.5% abv.
Nice pale gold color, thin body with a squirt of lemony acidity. Needs something really mild as a pairing, like a tuna salad sandwich.

2009 James Oatley Tic Tok Shiraz
Mudgee, New South Wales
$14, 14% abv.
Plum and blackberry with a touch of spice, jammy and tons of fruit with a little sweetness. Ultimately it has low tannins and a smooth finish. Tried this with a ribeye, where it performed quite well.

2009 James Oatley Tic Tok Merlot
Mudgee, New South Wales
$14, 13.5% abv.
Sort of closed, residual black cherry flavors. Mild tannins, low fruit. Very restrained in its profile, which means that it's a pretty all-purpose red.

2009 James Oatley Tic Tok Cabernet Sauvignon
Mudgee, New South Wales
$14, 14.5% abv.
A little leather and coffee, dark fruit aromas, medium tannins and a tart finish. I didn't have any lamb on hand, but it was what I was thinking about while trying the wine.

Note: These wines were received as samples.


Allen said...

Great post and looking forward to trying the wines. Congrats on being listed on the Oatley web site.

Benito said...

Thanks Dad, and I'll let you know if I see these here in town.