Sat | Oct 21, 2017

Raise your glass: Explore the wild side

Published:Thursday | December 10, 2015 | 12:00 AM

The struggle is always real, plagued by inequality, conflict, but from adversity beauty is created. Over the last few weeks, I had the privilege of tasting a few such contentious wines that are new to the market. Both from different regions, each with its own unique story that I thought was worth sharing beyond just the taste profiles.

19 Crimes

19 Crimes takes the name of a list of 19 Crimes to address the overcrowded jails of England in the 18th century and jailers found convicted of any of these crimes were sentenced and transferred to Australia. Being a colony under its jurisdiction, was the ideal place for these bad seeds to no longer poison the well of virtue.

This wine maker drew his inspiration from these tales to create one of Australia's most prestigious wines proving that even the unwanted can be redeemed.

The Red Blend is a surprising mixture of Shiraz (which Australia is now well known for), Pinot Noir, Grenache, and Cabernet Sauvignon to provide a bold red wine. This deeply opaque blackish red is well balanced with a tremendous nose of ripe crushed blackberry fruit with a lovely jam-like flavour. This harmonious blend has a lengthy finish for those of us who really like to enjoy our red wines. This is a great addition to the Christmas wine list, both as gifts as well as the addition to the dinner table as we all start giving thoughts to the 25th. Wines like this have such intense character and pairs incredibly well with red meat.

The prisoner

This Napa Valley wine is a blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petit Syrah, and Charbono. The Prisoner's founder and winemaker Dave Phinney's deep respect for the vineyards is rooted in an early attempt to make a sophisticated wine from a difficult site. "I came away from that experience with the unshakable belief that if you put your emphasis on the vineyard, what follows is much easier," he says. "The vineyard is everything." The Prisoner takes grapes from some 80 vineyards to give this amazing wine its WOW factor.

The resulting factor of his focus on the vineyards is what wine spectator describes as "bold and stylish, with dark cherry, toasty oak and black pepper aromas and briary, dense flavours of blackberry, espresso and grilled anise". I could not agree more. From that first sip you find yourself moaning ooohs and ahhs from its yumminess.

This holiday season, give in to a little indulgence and move from the mundane and routine, explore the wild side.

• I am not a wine expert

but merely a wine

enthusiast. Share your comments or feedback at wineenthusiastja@gmail.com.