Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Make this the Fall & Winter of Content

I have a predilection for expensive wine. There, I said it. Of course, as you all know by now, ‘expensive’ does not always lead to greatness so my statement is a bit flawed. Let’s not get caught up in semantics. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I have tasted enough wine to know that there are in fact some 1st growth Bordeaux’s, Montrachets, Napa cult wines and Barolos that really do justify their high prices. I also know that I cannot afford to drink these iconic wines on a daily basis (or weekly, or monthly...) nor would I allow myself to crack open a 1986 Domaine de la Romanee Conti Montrachet on your average Tuesday night.

Given this predicament, I, along with the wine monkey, have been on the lookout for some good, easy drinking “Tuesday night wines” to have around our humble homes. One of the great finds of late has been the Hill of Content Grenache/Shiraz from South Australia. The wine is part of the Australian Premium Wine Collection, a selection of wines compiled by Aussie wine lover John Larchet.

In addition to assembling a list of his favorite Australian wines, Larchet now produces wine under a few of his own labels, one of which is Hill of Content. I have tried a few of the wines under the Hill of Content label (he produces a Chardonnay, a Cab and a Pinot Noir among others) but the Grenache/Shiraz (75% / 25% give or take) is definitely the way to go. This unassuming little screw cap wine is a crowd pleaser to be sure -- and that includes anyone in the crowd with a fondness for the finer things in life.

For an under $15 wine the Hill of Content Grenache/Shiraz has a lot of red fruit and spice character as well as a silky consistency and nice balance. The fruit in the current release 2003 is sweet and clean and the milk chocolate and vanilla notes give it considerable depth. Although this is an easy drinker, it is not one of those wines that people just throw back without noticing. I will bet you a bottle of 1986 Domaine de la Romaine Conti Montrachet that people will ask you what it is and where you got it.

Okay, kidding, but you get my point.

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