Many winemakers appear to be making tours of Southeast Asia and one of the latest ones to come over were Sarah and Sparky Marquis of Mollydooker Wines. Although their wines have only been imported since April (by Premium Wine Exchange), they have gotten quite a good following as attested to by the attendance at two successful dinners showcasing their wines. The one I attended was at CAV and presented the whole range available in Manila.
Moolydooker, being Australian slang for left-handed (both Sarah and Sparky are left handed), You are greeted with a firm left-handed handshake from the Marquis couple.
While waiting for everyone to show up, canapés were served together with the only white made by Mollydooker which is a Verdelho called The Violinist as a tribute to Sarah, who was forced to play the violin right-handed in school. It’s a fairly rich Verdelho, medium-bodied, with melon and pear notes and some yellow tropical fruit in the background. Nice and fresh. Pretty good, I thought.
After everyone was seated there was s short introduction by Sparky who gave some history of their winery followed by a demonstration by two volunteers of the “Mollydooker Shake,” which they recommend you do for maximum enjoyment of their wines. Wen you open the bottle, you our a bit of wine out (up to top shoulder), the bottle is closed again and given a vigorous shake. There’s a froth that forms at the wine’s surface and this is the nitrogen escaping from the bottle. The nitrogen is there to reduce the use of sulfites. Unfortunately, it has the effect of flattening the wine’s flavor so releasing the nitrogen gives the wine its original flavor.
The first red wine presented was The Maitre D’ 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon. This was very soft with primarily mocha and coffee flavors. The Two Left Feet 2010 Shiraz/Cabernet/Merlot blend was next. Again very soft and caramelly. The idea of fruit weight was introduced by by Sarah at this point. It’s defined as the sensation of fruit from the tip of your tongue going to the back before structural components of the wine make themselves felt. In this case, The Two Left Feet has a fruit weight of 70%. Both wines are named after Sparky who worked as a Maitre D’ and dances with two left feet.
What followed was The Blue Eyed Boy Shiraz 2009 named after the Marquis’ son. Another soft wine. Full-bodied and rich. Chocolate syrup, plums and dried fruit on the palate. This was paired with a delightful dish of Chanterelles and Morels, 62 degree Quail Egg, Peas, Farfalle and Madeira Syrup. The Quail Egg was great as it popped in your mouth, giving up its runny yolk. It wasn’t readily identifiable as a quail egg on the plate so it was a nice surprise in the mouth.
Another presentation followed showing the unique watering system Mollydooker uses to get such great concentration in the fruit. It’s a fairly involved process but in short, water is turned on and off to stress the vine into producing the quality of fruit they need. Conventional wisdom states that you need old vines to produce great fruit. Mollydooker is able to do it using vines just 13 years old. I asked Sarah if the fruit they used was raisined or overripe in any way in order to get the flavor they needed but she said no, all the grapes they used are very healthy.
The Enchanted Path 2010 Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon refers to the journey Sarah and Sparky have gone through in life and wine. Very nice. Sweet spice, a fine acidity cutting through the richness and good length show in this wine. This was followed by the Carnival of Love Shiraz 2010 with it’s cola and caramel flavors.
These were paired with a Duck Confit, Foie Gras, Corn Parmentier and Truffle Broth. It was a rather sweet dish under ordinary circumstances but with such rich wines, it wasn’t a problem at all.
The most anticipated wine of the evening was the Velvet Glove Shiraz 2011. Although this is much like the other wines in softness and flavor profile with plenty of black fruit and chocolate flavors, it is much more nuanced and refined. The other wines might seem a bit heavy on the palate but although this is by no means a lightweight, it is noticeably lighter. The real quality and complexity shows after an hour in the glass when it starts getting meaty and throwing off mint, fragrant wood, menthol and worcestershire sauce aromas and flavors. Very classy, excellent wine. It would be interesting to see how this ages. Sparky also related how a third of the Velvet Glove’s 2010 production was destroyed when a shipping container full of the stuff crashed in a forklift accident. That’s a million dollars of wine down the drain.
This was paired with Aussie Lamb Loin with Miso Carrots, Black Olive Marmalade and Saffron Froth.
There was no dessert wine but I don’t think it mattered as the dessert needed no embellishment. It was a fine dish of Grilled Peaches, Coconut Sago, Cilantro and Raspberry Sherbet. The cilantro was surprising but worked quite well in this dish.
It’s been a while since I’ve had wines in the full-bodied Australian style like these so it was a welcome change of pace. Sarah and Sparky were very informative and eager to share information on their wines and vineyard techniques. This was probably the most technically heavy wine dinner I’ve attended. Congratulations to Premium Wine Exchange for a great event!
Cav is located at the Ground Floor, the Spa Building, Lot 5, Quadrant 8, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. Tel 8561798, 8561796, 8167127
Premium Wine Exchange is located at Ground Floor, Smith Bell Bldg., 2294 Pasong Tamo Ext., Makati City. Tel 8405319